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220,000 Californians Losing Unemployment Benefits On Saturday

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Unemployment
Cambi Brown Cambi Brown
Born and raised in Elk Grove, Cambi attended Sacramento State and...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — More than 200,000 Californians are about to be left high and dry when their unemployment benefits expire after Congress declined to extend them before the new year.

Letters went out to 220,000 Californians like Ramon Ruiz, saying their federal extension benefits would expire on Saturday.

“It’s unfair, because people need that money,” he said. “I worked hard to get that money.”

Laid off workers get 26 weeks of unemployment pay from the state of California. A federal extension passed during the recession added 37 weeks for a total of 63 weeks.

That extension was not renewed before Congress left for the new year. Congressional Republicans said they’re open to considering an extension when lawmakers return in January, if there is a way to pay for it.

Until then, Bobby Powell will be doing what he’s done every day—send out his resume and hope for the best. But the response has always been the same:

“‘We aren’t hiring at this time, but we’ll keep your resume on file,’” he said.

The National Employment Law Project, which advocates for employment rights, believes Congress’ decision will hurt the economy even more.

Spokeswoman Christine Owens estimates cutting unemployment benefits will cost California $4 billion in 2014 alone.

“These individuals spend what they get in unemployment benefits,” she said. “They spend them in their local communities. It helps keep the economic engine turning.”

People like Powell know time is running out and are desperate for any kind of work.

“Anything,” he said. “Seasonal, part-time, full-time.”

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