SPRINGFIELD | Tens of thousands of Illinoisans receiving unemployment benefits could see their checks stop on Dec. 29.
That’s because a federal unemployment insurance program providing assistance beyond the initial 25-week regular state unemployment program expires at the end of the year.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, are pushing for Congress to extend the program.
The added federal benefits have been in place since the U.S. economy plummeted in 2008. They provided up to 53 weeks of unemployment insurance.
Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, said the agency is still working to calculate how many recipients in Illinois are affected by the expiration of the program.
He said a final number could come next week.
Nationally, an estimated 2.1 million people could be affected.
The unemployment rate in Illinois is 8.8 percent, compared to 7.9 percent in the U.S.