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Long-term unemployment benefits expire for over 100,000 New Yorkers

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Come Saturday, over 100,000 New Yorkers may have to wonder how they're going to put the next meal on their table, including 1,200 people in Oneida County.

President Obama signed a budget deal Thursday, but what's missing from the deal is the long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people across America.

These long-term benefits are what kick in after state benefits run out, usually six months into a person's unemployment and now people across the nation are losing their life-line right before the New Year.

"I'm very frustrated and stressed out. I have to take care of my daughter and I just don't know what's next," said Paul Giruzzi, a Utica resident.

Giruzzi graduated college in 2012, but none of his job applications are panning out. He relies on $283 a week from the unemployment benefits.

"Struggling to pay the bills, put food on the table and it's just frustrating not knowing where that money's going to come from after this week," said Giruzzi.

Some Republicans believe the benefits cost too much and create a dependency on the government, but Giruzzi says that's not the case.

"I'm trying to find a job. It's not from a lack of trying and I wish they would just extend it a couple more months," he said.

He spends several days a week at the Working Solutions office on Genesee Street. Employees there expect to see an uptick after the New Year.

"We're historically hard hit here whenever the economy takes a down turn and slow to recover when it starts turning up again and that's still the case now," said Gary Fleishman, labor of program administrator at Working Solutions.

Working Solutions is encouraging those with expiring benefits to take advantage of their resources.

"A resume workshop, mock interviews, whatever they think they need," said Fleishman.

Giruzzi says he doesn't know what's next. All he can do is keep trying.

In January senators will vote whether to extend benefits for three months.

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