What If Unemployment Benefits Fall Through

By John W. Davis

December 7, 2010 Updated Dec 7, 2010 at 12:34 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - What if President Obama's compromise to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits falls through?

John W. Davis reports local social service agencies would be forced to continue to do more with less.

A lot of social service agencies are not faith-based but that is what they would need to rely on if more people need their help.

"The warehouse is less than half full and I worry about a disaster. If something happens I have no reserve at this point in time," said Community Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Jane Avery.

Even if President Obama's plan to extend unemployment benefits goes through, jobless Hoosiers are still on track to face another hurdle.

In November, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced his top 2011 priorities.

One of them is to cut weekly unemployment benefits.

Daniels said Indiana has a nearly $1.9 billion dollars in debt because of jobless benefits.

Daniels has not shared how much but democrats speculate it could be as much as 50%.

The current maximum amount is 415 dollars a week.

With the governor's plan, maximum benefits could be down to about $200 dollars a week.

Average benefits around $100 dollars.

"I also know that government is not the answer to everything and it certainly... in the area of hunger relief it isn't. It's a charitable issue, a government issue, it's an individual issue, it's a corporate issue. There's room for everybody," said Avery.

Indiana's unemployment rate was 9.9% in October.

The national average was 9.8% in November.

The unemployment rate counts the percentage of adults who are actively applying for jobs that don't have one.

However, that date does not account for underemployed people, who make up nearly 10-percent of the workforce.

Underemployed workers are defined as skilled workers who earn a low wage.

Unemployment stats also do not count people who have given up on finding a job.

Meanwhile, President Obama's plan would renew federal benefits 13 months.

A one-year payroll tax cut is also a part of the proposed deal.

Federal officials hope the payroll tax cut will encourage employers to begin hiring.

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