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30,000 Tennesseans will lose unemployment benefits without fiscal cliff deal

5:19 PM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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By Duane Marsteller / The Tennessean 

About 30,000 Tennesseans will lose their unemployment benefits when a federal program ends next week, state labor officials said Friday.

A possible extension of those benefits is one of the many topics that are part of the negotiations in Washington over the so-called "fiscal cliff," a combination of tax changes and spending cuts that are set to take effect in 2013.

Thousands of Tennesseans are receiving extended unemployment benefits under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which is set to expire on Wednesday. The program pays benefits to those who have exhausted their state benefits, which can last up to 26 weeks in Tennessee.

This week is the last payable week under the federal program, with final checks going out next week. After that, jobless benefits will be capped at 26 weeks in Tennessee.

Although the federal program has been amended or extended 10 times since it was enacted in 2008, neither Congress nor the Obama administration have moved to continue it.

Karla Davis, Tennessee's labor commissioner, urged those losing their benefits to use the state's jobs website (www.jobs4tn.gov) and visit a state career center for help finding work.

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