Jobless benefit cuts boost needs, competition - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jobless benefit cuts boost needs, competition

Posted: Updated:
Dylan Deckard Dylan Deckard
Brian Riendeau Brian Riendeau
People in line on Dec. 30 at the Louisville Office of Employment & Training. People in line on Dec. 30 at the Louisville Office of Employment & Training.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dylan Deckard of Pleasure Ridge Park is finding the line a lot longer than he expected at the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet's Louisville Office of Employment & Training. It's his first Monday without a job in nine-and-one-half years.

"Two kids, wife, house payment, car payment, a lot of stuff," said Deckard. "I have a few friends with a couple of laborer jobs, construction. Hopefully, I'll be able to get something."

Deckard can collect up to 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits, but he no longer has a shot at collecting extension payments provided through the federal government. Some 18,000 Kentuckians had been receiving, $290 per week on average; some for as many as 37 weeks after exhausting their state benefit eligibility. Social service agencies expect that many of these long-term unemployed will become clients, if they weren't already.

"There was definitely a gap between the recession and the spike in need," said Brian Riendeau, executive director for Dare to Care, the food warehouse that serves 300 agencies in thirteen Kentuckiana counties.

"I would hazard a guess that this certainly isn't going to make the situation any better," Riedeau continued. "But this also is the season of need, and our donors really have stepped up. And so, we're just gonna say hey, stick with us, we're not done with this job yet."

Kentucky requires the unemployed provide proof that they're searching for work, in order to collect jobless benefits. Ironically, the end of federal extensions may signal a drop in the reported unemployed, but according to Dustin Adams, director of the Division for Unemployment Insurance, that is more of a reflection in how the jobless are counted.

"They'll no longer be tracked as accurately, so you can have a showing that an individual is no longer unemployed," Adams said.

Deckard earned $18 per hour in his job that ended last Friday.

"If I can't find anything that'll pay me as much as the unemployment, then I'm gonna stretch that out as far as I can because it wouldn't make sense," he said.

Workforce Cabinet officials concede that a job search frequently is a full-time job in itself.

"That's always a concern, when somebody takes a job that they otherwise would not have," Adams told WAVE 3 News. "It would occupy their time that they otherwise would spend looking for work."

But Deckard also has to factor in winter's chill and Christmas bills.

"If I can find something $12 to $15 an hour with an option to move up, I'll jump on it," said Deckard.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.