Unemployment Benefits Set To End For Thousands Of Rhode Islanders

Dec 27, 2013

Making ends meet is about to get harder for thousands of Rhode Island families who will lose their unemployment benefits Saturday.  Those taking the hit are the long-term unemployed.

Rhode Island now has the highest rate of unemployment in the country, tied with Nevada.

Congressional failure to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will result in the loss of benefits to 1.3 million Americans starting tomorrow. In Rhode Island, six thousand long-term unemployed individuals will lose their weekly checks. In the first six months of 2014 another nine thousand will join their ranks.

"This time of year makes it even more difficult," said Fogarty. "You’ve got the holidays where people want to provide for their kids a little bit of joy and you’ve got the heating season underway. And of course the cost of oil and other heating is through the roof. So you know it really is going to have a big impact on those 6,000 families and then every week thereafter another 350."

Charlie Fogarty, director of the state Department of Labor and Training, said all affected individuals have been sent information about food stamps and United Way services.

When the change takes effect the maximum number of weeks a jobless Rhode Islander will be able to collect benefits will be reduced from 47 to 26. 

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