Unemployment benefits end for thousands of Utahns

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Time has run out for thousands of Utahns and millions of Americans depending on extended unemployment benefits to get by.

Now that unemployment checks will not be coming, they will have to consider other options.

Tooele resident Dee Byergo knows what it's like to fall on tough times.

In November he reinjured his back while on a mission with the Utah National Guard in Colorado.

A few weeks later he was laid off by a company he had spent 22 years with.

"I'm struggling, because I actually went for seven weeks without any income at all throughout the course of this," said Byergo.

About 1,300,000 Americans in a similar situation are facing the end of jobless benefits.

Congress did not extend the emergency program, so for most people across the country the payments run out after 26 weeks.

Byergo is still getting unemployment, but he says it only stretches so far and he knows the end is near.

"I'm depleting my savings at this point in time trying to progress forward," said Byergo.

The White House is pushing congress to extend the long term benefits.

Most democrats want an additional year, but some republicans argue extending benefits beyond 26 weeks is a disservice to American workers.

In the meantime, the Utah Department of Workforce Services is doing what it can to help the estimated 3,000 people in our state who will no longer collect emergency benefits.

"Our number one goal is reemployment we are going to double down on our efforts to get these individuals the tools they need to get back to work," said Michelle Beebe with the Department of Workforce Services.

Byergo plans to take advantage of all the resources he can to get back to work, but says the prospects appear bleak.

"In the eight, nine weeks now I have not come across any prospects to employee me," said Byergo.

The U.S. long term unemployment is at its highest since World War II with 4,000,000 Americans out of work for 27 weeks or more.

The earliest congress will take up extending unemployment benefits is January 7, 2014.

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