CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – To date, more than 110,000 Virginians are on some sort of unemployment. 23,200 are on extended unemployment benefits. That breaks down to 7300 in the Richmond area.
The decision to continue unemployment benefit extensions by another year boils down to $65-billion. As Congress debates that option, people like Constance Mason are sitting scared.
Waiting for 45 minutes, Constance Mason, unemployed for a year, hopes Thursday the Virginia Employment Commission can help.
"It's December 1st and I've already been a month without payment," explained Constance mason as she sat among more than a dozen other people waiting at the VEC. "My mortgage is due now. And I don't have it. So I'm sitting in here, waiting like everybody else, to speak with someone, to get sent home with no solution."
The Hanover mother of one worked in manufacturing for 11 years. She understands the US is dealing with a huge deficit, but says the economy should dictate when extensions end---not Congress.
"Unemployment benefits are already low enough. And then for not to extend them, how are people going to survive? You can't just go out here and get a job. The jobs are not available," she said.
Everyone getting unemployment benefits is going to be impacted, but it's going to be a trickle down effect because there are three different types of benefits. Folks getting extended benefits will stop receiving checks December 11th. If you get emergency benefits you will continue to receive a check until your payment period is over. And if you're receiving state benefits, your original claim, you too will continue to receive a check until your payment period is over. No one is going to be able to apply for extra help.
"It's not like we can just take them to island and say okay these people don't work, let's leave them there. They're still here. There still an issue to be dealt with," Constance said.
Constance expects crime to rise and foreclosures to increase.
"You cannot just cut them off without having any type of reaction - some type of recourse," she said.
To check on your unemployment benefits call this hotline: 1-866-832-2363