Thousands of Nevada Jobless Face Benefit Cut - 8 News NOW

Thousands of Nevada Jobless Face Benefit Cut

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LAS VEGAS -- Nearly 25,000 Nevada residents will lose their extended unemployment benefits unless Congress votes to extend a federal program.

The Emergency Unemployment Program was started in 2008 in response to record high jobless rates. After a series of extensions, the last payable week is Dec. 29. Currently, those getting money under the emergency program qualify for 73 weeks of unemployment. They earn as much as $400 a week and must be actively looking for work.

Those on unemployment say the money is a necessary lifeline to support their families. More than 500 veterans turned up at a job fair Thursday morning at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"That's why I'm here today, so I can do something to completely help the family because right now it's really short," job seeker Frantz Morman Jr. said.

This is Morman's fourth time on unemployment.

"It helps you through the times that you don't have a job because without it -- then you'd be lost," Morman said.

Marino Kapanos suddenly lost his job.

"They just said there's no more work," he said. 

He's collected benefits for the past three months.

"It's not enough but it definitely helps. Without it, I don't know how we'd get by," Kapanos said.

More than 25,000 Nevada residents will lose their benefits by Jan. 2 if Congress fails to extend the emergency unemployment compensation program. Another 32,000 unemployed workers receiving the typical 26 weeks will also exhaust their benefits and be unable to transition into the emergency program.

There are a total of 57,000 people collecting unemployment benefits -- regular and extended -- in Nevada.

"Of course this is going to be very detrimental," said Mae Worthey, spokeswoman for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

She said jobless benefits help fuel the local economy and impact many more people than just the individuals receiving the benefits.

"This is how they're shopping, how they're, you know taking care of their families and their homes and mortgages," she said.

It's a story Frantz and thousands of other Nevadans know too well. He believes with every handshake at a job fair, there is hope.

"Don't give up. Just keep at it and something is going to show up," he said.

Worthey recommends those receiving the emergency unemployment compensation continue to file their weekly claims. This way, if Congress does vote to renew the program, their benefits are not interrupted.

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