NEW YORK (CNN)- Michelle Marshall is one of the 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans who will lose jobless benefits Saturday.
Marshall, 56, has been out of work for a year, since she lost an administrative assistant job that paid her $44,000 per year.She started collecting $624 each week in New Jersey unemployment benefits, but the state benefits ran out after 26 weeks. When federal benefits kicked in, she collected $521. But Marshall will stop getting these checks next week.
That’s because Congress failed to extend the recession-era program when it passed a budget deal last week. Federal benefits kick in after state benefits run out, and range between 14 to 47 weeks, depending on the state where a person lives. According to government figures, the average weekly benefit check is $300.
Even the cut from the larger state check to the federal benefits was hard for Marshall. She had to consolidate her $12,000 worth of credit card debt and enroll in a mortgage assistance program.
When the benefits stop entirely, she doesn’t know what she’ll do.
“I imagine I will go apply for food stamps,” she said. “Depending how long this goes on, I might lose my car, which will impact my ability to get a job. I won’t be able to drive to interviews.”