Unemployment benefits could be cut

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX)-- Mechanic Joe Bucci has been out of a job for a year.

"It's rough out there. With out the skills you are never going to get a good job," said Bucci.

His story is similar to other men looking to learn some new skills Tuesday in the manufacturing trade at a mobile training center in Riviera Beach.

As they try to get back into the workforce, the possibility that they may lose their unemployment benefits is chilling.

Roal Small has been on unemployment for 6 months.

"I would definitely be hurting, my family would hurt. I am not sure what I would do right now if I lost my benefits," said Small.

The government is sounding an alarm that in some cases unemployment benefits could be cut on February 28th.

In Florida, more than 100,000 people could lose their benefits by the end of March.

It all could happen if Congress fails to extend the aid which it already extended back in December as more Americans find themselves on extended job searches during the recession.

Typically, in Florida unemployment pays $275 a week and two thirds of the cost of Cobra health care.

Something Small says he can't live without. "I wouldn't be able to pay my bills. I would be out in the cold," he added.

Leaders in the U.S. Senate are looking to pass a 15- or 30-day extension of federal unemployment benefits this week so people won't be left in a lurch. The move that would give Congress more time to work out a longer-term solution.

If your benefits are supposed to be extended after March you may want to check on that and call your local unemployment office right away.