Massachusetts may be able to keep the unemployment checks coming

Thousands of laid-off Massachusetts workers may be able to keep their unemployment benefits after all, averting — at least for a month — a new wave of bankruptcy filings.

Although the federal benefits were set to expire this week, a Massachusetts state law has been invoked that will keep the checks flowing until May 2nd.

A permanent solution, or at least a solution that would last for the remainder of 2010, requires an act of Congress, which intends to take up the matter next week. Democrats are eager to see the benefits continue, while Republicans want to see exactly where the money to pay for them is coming from.

The Boston Globe described the plight of several Massachusetts residents who are trying to make do on their unemployment checks:

“Among those who could soon lose their unemployment benefits is Erika Trabucco, a 48-year-old single mother of twins from Dorchester, who described the aid as a needed cushion since she left her job as a hospital coordinator two years ago to take care of her ailing mother.

“I just know I can’t survive without it,’’ said Trabucco, who is participating in a job development program at the Crittenton Women’s Union, a private group serving low-income women.

Eyvonne Cottrell, a 50-year-old mother, said she’s been struggling since she lost her job in Georgia two years ago. A Boston native, she recently moved back home and is living with a cousin in Dorchester. She is on her second jobless extension from the federal government, but that is about to end next week, she said.

“I’m worried, and I’m not sure what is going to happen next,’’ the former administrative assistant said as she scanned the Internet for job leads at the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts in Dudley Square. “I just feel that this is the worst the job industry has been.’’

Jasmine Watson, a 26-year-old from Roxbury, said she’s been trying to find work since she was laid off from her administrative assistant job at a Boston brokerage firm last year.”


By Doug Beaton

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