Some 2,600 umemployed District residents won't receive unemployment checks starting June 22, unless Congress acts on funding legislation before then, a District government official warned yesterday.
The unemployed workers who would be affected receive all or part of their benefits from the federal government, rather than local governments of private firms.
The funds are part of a $1.1 billion supplemental appropriation request for the U.S. Labor Department. The request has stalled in the House since the House Appropriations Committee approved it May 9, but it is expected that the deadline will be met to keep the money flowing.
Nationally, at least 600,000 unemployed workers face a loss of benefits.
The District's Employment Services Department estimates that one out of every five unemployed Washingtonians would be affected because they get all or part of their unemployment compensation from the federal government. gThey include former federal employes who have been laid off or fired, or who quit, former military personnel, and private employes whose jobs were funded through federal job programs.
The funding crisis has occurred because the Labor Department's Unemployment Benefit Fund has been drained by a rush of automobile workers who qualified for federal assistance under the Trade Adjustment Act. Under the legislation, workers who can show they lost their jobs because of the impact of foreign auto imports can qualify for federal unemployment compensation. The benefits of those workers would also be suspended if Congress fails to act.
Frank Orlando of the District's Office of Unemployment Compensation said that if benefits are suspended those affected will still be asked to report their claims each week.
When the funs become available -- either when Congress acts, or at the start of the next fiscal year, which-ever comes first, the unemployed workers would be paid their accumulated benefits.