Jobless Benefits To End

By Jim DeBrosse, Staff Writer

Updated 11:39 PM Sunday, February 7, 2010

DAYTON — Anthony Hartshorn of Kettering was laid off from sales and marketing jobs twice last year, and has been using his unemployment to support himself and his son while living with his mother.

“I’m just feverishly trying to look for work,” said Hartshorn, 46, while sitting at one of the 32 free computers available for job-seekers at The Job Center.

Thousands of jobless Dayton area and Ohio residents could begin exhausting their unemployment compensation later this month if Congress doesn’t pass another extension.

Jobless Ohioans whose regular 26 weeks of benefits end after Feb. 20 will not be eligible for extended benefits, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Claimants with shorter benefit spans — known as Tiers 1, 2, 3 and 4 — won’t be eligible for additional benefits after Feb. 27, the department said.

Previous extensions were made possible by the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008, first passed by Congress on June 26, 2008.

It allowed up to 53 weeks of federally extended unemployment compensation, in addition to the possible 26 weeks of regular unemployment compensation. But without another extension — President Obama signed one extension last year — the department estimates more than 100,000 Ohio jobless will lose benefits by March 20. The House agreed on a six-month extension in December while Senate Democrats are urging a 10-month extension. Obama’s proposed budget sets aside $49 billion to expand the federal benefits.

Time is running out for 27-year-old Luvinna Pittman of Dayton and others like her. Pittman, who has three children under age 12, said she is on her second extension of unemployment benefits since being laid off as a press operator a year ago.

She recently completed her training as a nursing assistant and is looking for a job in that field.

“I don’t know what I’ll do,” she said if her benefits run out. “I don’t have a parent to live with. I’ll probably be homeless.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2437

or jdebrosse@DaytonDaily