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High stakes for US families losing jobless benefit

December 29, 2013 • Business


Richard Mattos, 59, looks for jobs at a state-run employment center in Salem, Ore., on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. Mattos is one of more than 1 million Americans who will lose federal unemployment benefits at year’s end. (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper)

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — The end of unemployment checks for more than a million people on Saturday is driving out-of-work Americans to consider selling cars, moving and taking minimum wage work after already slashing household budgets and pawning personal possessions to make ends meet.

Greg and Barbara Chastain of Huntington Beach, Calif., put their two teenagers on the school lunch program and cut back on dining out after losing their T-shirt company in June following a dispute with an investor.

They’ve exhausted their state unemployment benefits and now that the federal extensions are gone, unless they find jobs the couple plan to take their children out of their high school in January and relocate 50 miles east where a relative owns property so they can save on rent.

“We could let one of our cars go, but then you can’t get to work — it’s a never-ending cycle,” 43-year-old Greg Chastain said while accompanying his wife to an Orange County employment center. He said they eventually may try their luck in a less expensive state like Arizona or Texas if he can land a manufacturing job there.

The end to the five-year program that extended benefits for the long-term Login to read more

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