Counties prepare for effect of long-term unemployment benefits cut

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 16, 2014 1:56 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Midstate counties are bracing for an increase in demand for services after Congress allowed long-term unemployment benefits to expire.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick says the social services staff has been discussing how to find people the help they need, with an already tight county budget.


Estimates say about 80,000 people statewide lost long-term benefits.

"The areas that we manage, from homeless assistance to homelessness to the amount of money for rental assistance, all of those dollars have significantly dropped. And distress on those areas, particularly at a time where the economy isn't fully turned around, is probably going to be even greater," says Harwick, a Democrat.

"I'm sure we're going to be getting calls from individuals who are in a pretty difficult predicament, and we'll be meeting with our social services staff to discuss how we're going to be able to address that."

But he wouldn't say whether he feels unemployment benefits should be extended, instead saying the focus in Congress should be on the economy.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick says just because federal benefits end, doesn't mean the demand for help has disappeared.

Republicans balked at an extension without offsetting cuts, though several voted for them under President George W-Bush.

Nearly all Democrats are pushing for an extension, saying measures to actually create jobs will come after the emergency legislation.

The proposal is awaiting action in the House after it passed the Senate.

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Comments: 1

  • Larry img 2014-01-16 18:42

    EUI needs to be extended because those on EUI are for the most part over fifty years of age, there is only one job for every three, and the long term unemployed have more difficulty being accepted by employers.

    First, offsets or funding to extend EUI can be obtained by closing loop holes for the wealthy and subsidies for large corporations. Or, if republicans believe employers should be rewarded with tax cuts for being job creators, they must truly accept and believe those same job creators be penalized for not creating jobs. JC Penny, Macy's, HP, etc. should also be penalized for layoffs.

    Senator Toomey and Congressman Pitts fiscal conservatism has been damaging to our economy and economic mobility. Their unwillingness to fund the EUI and other programs from these loop holes and subsidies or penalize job creator is damaging to the economy and an indication there is a funding problem, not a debt problem.

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