Federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire by the end of the year, cutting off assistance to about 4,900 Oklahomans.
State unemployment benefits last up to 26 weeks.
Those who still are unable to find a job after that are eligible for federal assistance, known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
The law extending that program is set to expire at the end of the year, but since benefits are given on a weekly basis, the program no longer will process assistance next week, said John Carpenter, spokesman for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Carpenter said given the tough battles over extending the program in recent years, he was not optimistic it will be reinstated in its current form.
Carpenter described the federal benefits as the last resort for many.
He expressed concern over the few remaining options those people will have once the program ends.
“These benefits are available to people who have already exhausted their up to 26 weeks of state benefits,” Carpenter said. “So, most of these people, once the benefits start, the vast majority will not have any other benefits available to them.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts estimate over the next year an additional 33,000 Oklahomans will be affected by the loss of the program.