Emergency Unemployment Compensation could end this year

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) The federally funded program that extends unemployment benefits could end by the beginning of the year, and it has many people wondering where to turn next.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program began back in 2008, after the economy took a dive, but now some congress members think it's no longer needed.

"I was sick. I was just like almost sick to my stomach," said Steven Seward.

On Saturday, Steven Seward got a letter from the Department of Employment and Work Force, stating his extended unemployment benefits could soon end.

Seward was one of the hundreds of people JP Morgan Chase let go this year, after the company decided to close its Florence location.

"My family is all to pieces financially. We have exhausted our savings," said Seward.

Seward says, he only got two months' severance pay from JP Morgan Chase, and he was forced to turn to unemployment while searching for another jobs.

"Sending application, after application, after application…I've been on a few interviews," said Seward.

Those extended unemployment benefits could soon run dry for Seward, along with 12,700 other South Carolinians on December 28.  The federal government has until the end of the year to decide whether or not to extend the program.

A spokesperson for the Department of Employment and Workforce said this letter went out as a proactive measure so that people getting those benefits could get a game plan together, just in case they benefits stop coming at the end of the month.

One of the reasons those extended benefits may be allowed to expire is because fewer people need them.

Last year, more than 29,000 South Carolinians were on the program. This year less than 13,000 are enrolled in the program.

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