Unemployment Benefits Ending for Thousands of Californians

A federal benefits extension, known as FED-ED in California, won't be available after May 12

By John Cádiz Klemack and Neil Costes
|  Saturday, May 12, 2012  |  Updated 3:09 PM PDT
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Mathew Pauley is among the 93,000 people in California set to lose unemployment benefits on Saturday, May 12. “I thought I didn’t have to worry, I was already getting the federal extension,” he says. Experts say the looming cut off is a double edged sword: the state’s extension is being nixed because the unemployment rate has been holding steady, but for thousands of unemployed workers, the cut off is not as rosy. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Sherman Oaks for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 11, 2012.

John Cádiz Klemack, Dennis Lahti

Mathew Pauley is among the 93,000 people in California set to lose unemployment benefits on Saturday, May 12. “I thought I didn’t have to worry, I was already getting the federal extension,” he says. Experts say the looming cut off is a double edged sword: the state’s extension is being nixed because the unemployment rate has been holding steady, but for thousands of unemployed workers, the cut off is not as rosy. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Sherman Oaks for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 11, 2012.

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Thousands of California residents are about to lose their federal unemployment benefits because of the loss of a federal extension.

Mathew Pauley is among the 93,000 people in California set to lose benefits on Saturday. Until recently, he thought he had two remaining months of benefits.

"Thought I didn't have to worry, I was already getting the federal extension," Pauley said.

That extension, known as FED-ED in California, won't be available after May 12, reducing the total number of weeks that Californians can collect benefits from 99 to 79.

The end of the extension is actually good news for the state because it means California's economy is getting better, said Loree Levy of the California Employment Development Department.

"In order for the state to qualify for the program you have to have a high unemployment rate,"  Levy said. "Certainly California does have a high rate, but it's not 10 percent higher than what it's been over the last three years, and that is a requirement of the program."

The state's unemployment rate sits at 11 percent, which is better than what it's been, meaning there are jobs out there, but job seekers like Pauley are having trouble finding them.

"Where are these jobs that are supposed to be here?" he said.

Like many others, Pauley is afraid he might lose his home if he doesn't find work soon.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know," Pauley said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time."

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