Dec 27, 2013 7:34 PM by Andy Koen
COLORADO SPRINGS - Time is up for about 3,000 local job hunters currently receiving federal unemployment checks. The Extended Unemployment Compensation program expires Saturday and was not renewed as part of the latest federal budget deal.
Terrence Jackson of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center said people who lose job in our community can still receive the standard 26 weeks of unemployment benefits through the state.
"We were hoping that maybe there would be another extension in between, but as far as we know right now, there is not one," Jackson said.
The loss of income will likely drive up demand for other programs like food assistance. Arturo Serrano, the economic services manager for the El Paso County Department of Human Services, expects to process more applications for food stamps with the loss of the EUC checks.
"If someone's going to get a reduction in a certain assistance area, obviously that impacts us, any type of reduction anywhere."
Food stamp use in El Paso County is at an all time high. One in ten people receive food assistance through DHS each month, including those who currently have jobs.
"It seems like a lot of people, they're employed but underemployed," Serrano explained. "They're working two jobs but still not making enough to get off assistance."
Jackson said the Workforce Center hopes to help those unemployed and under-employed workers get on a path to self-sufficiency.
"We can help them to upgrade their skills, look for work, talk to a career advisor one-on-one," Jackson said. "We also have information on resources here in the community."
Democrats in the US Senate are expected to introduce another extension of the unemployment benefits when the next Congress convenes in the New Year. Republicans point out no payroll tax increases have not offered to help offset the cost of those extended benefits.