Unemployment Benefits Set to Expire for 6,000 in Southern Tier

By WBNG News

November 16, 2010 Updated Nov 16, 2010 at 7:20 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Many people Binghamton rally to stay afloat amid recession.

The New York Department of Labor estimates nearly 6,000 people in the Southern Tier will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the month.

Action News Reporter Leigh Dana tells us, their only hope lies in lame ducks.

Instead of being a lame duck, be a mighty duck.

With a makeshift mascot, this group of unemployed workers is urging Congress to get back to work for those out of work.

They're rallying for an extension of unemployment benefits.

"This is crucial to people heading into the winter months, heading into the holiday season," said Mary Rogers with Citizen Action.

Otherwise, those benefits will dry up come November 30th, leaving many out in the cold.

"I'm barely making it. But if I fall any further, I'm not going to make it," said Robin Janowski of Binghamton.

Robin Janowski has been out of a job for a year.

She's one of thousands in the Southern Tier who fell victim to recession layoffs.

"Just save us," she begs, "Don't let us descend into what's going to happen here."

A range of issues lay before Congress during its post election lame duck session.

An extension of emergency unemployment benefits is high on its list of priorities.

But despite opposition from the Republican Senate Minority, lawmakers are hopeful that some form of an extension will pass before the end of the current Congress.

And so people like Robin can get back to work.

"I'm going to end up on social services, I'm going to end up in the system. And it's awfully hard to come back from that," says Janowski.

About 200,000 New Yorkers will exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of the year if Congress does not act.

In Binghamton, Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey said in a statement to Action News:

"I am hopeful that both parties will work together for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits so that those who have lost their jobs because of the economic down slide will have the means to provide for their families throughout the holiday season and the winter as they look for new work."

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