12 On Your Side: New time limit on unemployment benefits

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Unemployed workers will soon have less time to find a job before running out of benefits.

Congress voted on Friday to reduce the maximum number of weeks unemployed workers can receive benefits. The current limit is 99 weeks, but will soon be reduced to 73 weeks.

"I'm telling you it's hard out there to find a job," said Pearl Mosely, who lost her job in October. "If you don't have the qualification out of a high school education, it's hard on you."

She worries her lack of experience will make it harder on her to find employment. Now an even bigger concern is the new time limit on how long she can receive unemployment.

"I'd just have to move out of my house and go stay with one of my sisters or my brother," she said.

Unemployment office are still unaware of when the change will take place. Some states will begin June and others in September. The higher the rate jobless rate in a state, the longer they have to make the switch.

Right now the national average is at 8.5 percent. Georgia is at 9.7 percent and South Carolina is at 9.5 percent. Out of the nation's 13 million unemployed workers, 43 percent have been without work for more than six months. That's double the rate of any other economic downturn since The Great Depression.

Georgia and South Carolina unemployment offices hope to learn more details about the change after Presidents Day.

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