Expiration of long-term unemployment benefits leaves some out of luck

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The New Year may seem a little less bright for some no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. The long-term unemployment benefits expired on Saturday, December 28th -- affecting approximately 1.3 million Americans.

Ted Anderson is an employment and training specialist for Wisconsin Job Service. He has been assisting the unemployed in their job search.

The Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program some of them depended on ended as of Saturday.

"They went from receiving whatever their amount was to nothing," Anderson said.

The federal program provided extra income to the long-term unemployed who had exhausted their 26-week state benefits -- but Congress didn't extend the program into 2014.

Anderson says it will be especially hard for those 50 years old or older.

"Maybe they were in a job for 24 years, 15 years and they can't find new work, and they're having trouble finding a new job, and now there's nothing. They're going from receiving some unemployment to nothing at all," Anderson said.

Ironically, Monday was Anderson's last day on the job.

"I and a few of my colleagues are paid out of the extended unemployment package," Anderson said.

Anderson will be unemployed, and will have to apply for unemployment. Now, he says he'll put his workshop lessons on re-employment to work for himself.

The resource room at the Job Center provides people with free computer, internet, printing, faxing and telephone access -- and in recent weeks, a lot of people have taken advantage of it -- making sure they're registered on JobCenterOfWisconsin.com -- and updating their resumes.

Anderson can answer a lot of questions -- but when it comes to the extended benefits?

"I'm sorry, I don't think there's anything you can do except call Congress," Anderson said.

Anderson says one bright spot is that this is a good time of year to look for work, because with the New Year comes a new budget year, and new job opportunities.

There is expected to be another push in Congress to get the benefits restored in some form.