A projected 1.3 million people will lose emergency unemployment benefits when they expire Saturday.
Congress offered the extended benefits as unemployment ballooned during the Great Recession and has put off their expiration 11 times since. Renewing the long-term insurance is a top agenda item for the Senate when it convenes Jan. 6, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said. The body is expected to vote quickly on a three-month extension of the benefits.
Recipients still face, at best, a delay in their checks and, at worst, a permanent end to them. When the aid expires Saturday, the unemployed will only be able to collect a maximum 26 weeks of benefits in most parts of the U.S., down from about twice as much in many states.
The recession may technically be over, but for many the recovery has yet to begin. The plight of the long-term unemployed — a group the benefits are aimed at helping and whose ranks have swelled — has also proven particularly difficult to solve. Studies have shown that they are more likely to suffer mental-health setbacks and are less likely to be...