Unemployed Americans may lose jobless benefits by year-end

1More than 1.3 million unemployed Americans are set to lose their benefits with the looming expiry of federal jobless benefits.

The issue will be discussed in high-level budget talks on Capitol Hill, which are set to resume this week with a public hearing on Wednesday, the Financial Times reported.

Sandy Levin, the top Democrat on the House ways and means committee, said jobless benefit extension should be in these discussions.

“What we are doing is sounding the alarm clearly. When people realize what’s at stake, the need will carry the day,” Levin said.

The assistance for the long-term unemployed was launched in 2008 and renewed until the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group, reported that 1.3 million jobless workers will lose their benefits immediately at the start of 2014. Another 850,000 workers will exhaust their regular unemployment insurance in March.

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Members of Congress must now decide whether they will extend the deadline for the 10th time since the Great Recession began five years ago.

Advocates for the jobless are already lobbying for another extension, noting that the unemployment rate is hovering around 8 percent.

There are 4.1 million workers in the US who have been out of a job for at least six months. About one-third of them rely on their unemployment benefits.

In addition, lawmakers showed little interest in preventing a $5 billion reduction to food stamp benefits. The cut affected nearly 48 million recipients, many of them jobless.

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