McKEESPORT, December 10, 2010 – State Sen. Jim Brewster is urging jobless workers whose federal unemployment benefits have, or will soon expire, to continue filing for the weekly payments. “Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor has advised me that continuing to file should help expedite the resumption of payments if Congress acts,” Brewster said. “Knowing that many families are barely surviving with unemployment benefits, I urge them to make sure they keep filing – while we all pray that Congress acts soon.”

Brewster said Congress is debating extending the 73-week emergency benefits that expired at the end of November. Unless Congress acts soon, he said over 200,000 jobless Pennsylvanians will likely lose their benefits by the end of January.

The McKeesport lawmaker said state Labor Department officials advised him that about 100,000 letters were mailed this week to those whose benefits ended, or soon will end, with instructions on how to continue filing. If Congress acts, claimants who missed payments will likely receive a retroactive lump sum of the benefit checks they missed.

“I hope Congress does the right thing and acts soon,” Brewster said. “But in the meantime, those who are jobless need to do all they can to make sure they can get their benefits resumed as quickly as possible once Congress acts.”

Brewster said the nationwide recession has been particularly hard on the Mon Valley and struggling industrial towns. He said cutting jobless families from the unemployment rolls “causes catastrophic problems for those families, and residual pain for the region’s economy.”

More information on filing for unemployment compensation can be obtained at:

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