Thousands of people in eastern Washington will lose money for their families starting Saturday. Emergency unemployment benefits are expiring, unless Congress votes to extend them.
Standard unemployment benefits can last up to six months, but the program being cut was created during the recession to help people after that time. In Washington, the emergency benefits can last up to 37 weeks.
"We will notify you if any extensions become available," Emily Norton read from a letter.
The number of families in Spokane County who received the same letter was 1,480. Saturday, all of them will lose Emergency Unemployment Benefits or EUC. On average, each was paid about 380 dollars a week.
"It's not like we're the people who are sitting on unemployment," Norton said.
Norton's husband lost his truck-driving job in April, and now is going back to school to be a mechanic. She's attending classes as well. When the family's initial unemployment ran out after a couple months, the emergency benefits helped them get by.