Jobless benefits could end for 7,000 in New Mexico

Posted at: 11/16/2012 3:02 PM
By: BARRY MASSEY Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - State officials say about 7,000 jobless New Mexicans will lose unemployment benefits at the end of the year if Congress and the president don't agree to extend the payments.

Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey told a legislative committee on Friday there will be no federal extended unemployment benefits starting in January unless the program is continued.

The state provides jobless benefits for 26 weeks, and the federal government pays for up to 28 additional weeks of assistance because of high unemployment.

About 21,000 New Mexicans are receiving unemployment payments, with a third of those covered by federal extended benefits.

Unemployment assistance is one of the issues confronting Congress and President Barack Obama as they consider how to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts.

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