An estimated 18,000 San Diegans are part of the millions of Americans who will lose their unemployment benefits today after Congress failed to reach an agreement regarding the program.
The loss will surely make a tough situation even tougher for many said Terrence Livingston who spoke with NBC 7 San Diego about what he has experienced since losing his unemployment benefits in February.
Livingston said he became homeless shortly after he was denied an extension of his benefits. Today he shares a bed with a stranger at the Alpha Project tent downtown.
Livingston was a commercial truck driver before he was laid off early last year and since then he has been searching for work with no luck.
“I would go to temporary agencies and work for a couple of days…it’s hard. Even getting hired at McDonald's is hard because jobs are in demand.”
The emergency unemployment benefits that millions of Americans rely upon were set up in 2008. The program allowed people to collect on the benefits for up to 99 weeks while also looking for a job.
However, lawmakers, after extending the program 11 times, failed to reach an agreement this time around to keep it going.
A bipartisan group of senators is said to be working toward a short-term fix once Congress returns in January. But, in the meantime, Americans who haven't been able to find work since getting laid off will have to go without the unemployment benefits.
This means for the time being Livingston and people like him will face an uncertain future.
“I’m praying, hoping that after the first of the year, some[one] will call me,” Livingston said.