Extension deadline looms

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Extension deadline looms

The News-Herald – Thousands of Northeast Ohioans, including Alane Hufgard of Painesville, are on the verge of losing access to extended unemployment benefits unless the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives act quickly on legislation that will pump money into the bankrupt Ohio Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

Hufgard, 45, was laid off from her production job at Hogan Awning in Grand River on Jan. 9, 2009.

Unless the Senate and House quickly agree on a measure that would provide money for extended unemployment benefits in Ohio through December, Hufgard faces a cutoff date of March 9 on her twice-monthly unemployment benefit payments of $280.

"They absolutely need to extend the deadline," she said.

"There are so many people out there just like me — people who've worked their whole life and want to get back to work but can't find a job to go to in this economy."

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio was one of 32 Democratic senators who signed a Jan. 22 letter urging the Senate to act quickly to pass legislation that would fund extended unemployment benefits and assistance to pay for medical insurance in Ohio and others states hit hardest by the recession.

The letter was sent to majority leader Sen. Harry Reid and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, both Democrats.

"Unemployment insurance helps Ohioans who have worked hard and played by the rules but are still struggling to find jobs," Brown said in a prepared statement.

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