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Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Set To End For Thousands In Md.

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a million Americans are bracing to lose their lifeline from the government. Long-term unemployment benefits, put in place during the recession, are set to end Saturday.

Monique Griego has more on how many people are affected in Maryland.

In Maryland, around 25,000 people are set to be affected. They’re hoping Congress can pass some kind of extension.

D.C. resident Jawanna McDonald lost her job at a grocery store last May. On Thursday, she picked up her last unemployment check.

“It’s very important, especially when it was the only income that I had,” McDonald said.

McDonald joins 1.3 million Americans whose benefits stop Saturday. The budget Congress just passed did not renew unemployment checks for people who’ve been out of work for more than six months.

“Just cut somebody’s unemployment off, you know, off… for whatever reason they see fit. I really don’t agree with that,” said McDonald.

In Maryland, 25,000 are set to lose their lifeline. That includes 5,000 out of work people in Baltimore City.

“I want to really spread the word that there is help available,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Friday, the mayor made a trip to My Brother’s Keeper in southwest Baltimore to highlight workforce programs available to the community.

“Soft skills, hard skills, computer skills, job placement,” she said.

Important tools: “That help them be better equipped and give them a competitive edge when they go out to find that job,” said Karen Sitnick, Director, Employment Development.

When lawmakers return to Washington, the Senate is expected to vote on extending benefits for three months. House Republicans are willing to discuss an extension–if there’s a way to pay for it.

With no safety net, McDonald is putting job training on hold to look for work.

“I have to push my schooling off the side for the moment just to maintain some employment,” she said.

On average, unemployment benefits pay out around $300 a week.

For more information on how you can access the free workforce help, click here.

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