Thousands Lose Jobless Benefits

Published 05/14 2012 08:12PM

Updated 05/14 2012 08:56PM

CHICAGO -- Illinois is one of eight states to cut the Extended Benefit program for the long term unemployed.  The state says the program is ending because of improving unemployment rates.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) says the program ended on Saturday, May 12.  It says, "Falling unemployment rates and steady economic growth means an extended unemployment insurance program ends this month."

People receiving those benefits got emails and letter explaining what was happening.  IDES says about 20,000 people will be impacted immediately.  Final payments will be sent out in the next two weeks.

IDES Director Jay Rowell says this, "demonstrates the significant progress our economy has made, but there are still those struggling to find work."

In order for the benefit program to keep going, the unemployment rate has to, "be at least 10 percent higher than corresponding period in any one of the last three years."  The last last major spike in unemployment was January 2010 with 11.4 percent, and that number has went down.

Illinois says there are more than 90,000 job openings and people can find them on

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