Benefits could expire for 12,200 Minn. unemployed - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Benefits could expire for 12,200 Minn. unemployed

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Thousands of out-of-work Minnesotans are at risk of having their unemployment-insurance benefits expire Saturday.

There are 2.1 million Americans who currently receive benefits, including more than 12,000 in Minnesota. There were hopes that Congress would reauthorize the benefits, but those hopes dimmed after lawmakers left Washington last week without striking a deal on the fiscal cliff.

A Minneapolis Star Tribune report says some unemployed Minnesotans are minimizing expenses by downsizing their homes and looking for alternatives to owning a car.

Andrea Ferstan is with Greater Twin Cities United Way. She says unemployed people who use up their savings could find themselves turning to charity and government programs for needs such as food and shelter.

Although Emergency Unemployment Compensation is temporary, Congress has renewed the program 10 times since 2008.

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