Saturday marked the last day 1.3 million jobless Americans will receive unemployment benefits.
The money came from an emergency federal program. The program went into place in 2008 during the recession, providing the benefits for up to 47 weeks.
That time period is now cut down to what it was before: 26 weeks.
“I got a letter two days before Christmas,” says York woman Lori Uhrich, whose benefits expired with short notice. She lost her job of more than 17 years in May and has been job searching since then.
It will be a struggle for her family. Her husband, a Vietnam veteran, was forced to take early retirement when he couldn’t find a job. Her two grandchildren and other family members live with them.
Democrats on Capitol Hill want to pass an extension of the program. Some Republicans say that spending would need to be offset with other cuts.
“I think that when you’re on unemployment, you at least have a little bit of you dignity left to be able to move forward to find that job,” says Uhrich. “Sometimes when you have to go onto welfare, that is a place that you don’t necessarily want to be.”