The expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program is affecting folks here in eastern Kentucky. We sat down with a laid off coal miner from pike county who has been counting on that money for months to provide for his family.
Two days notice; nothing in writing; just an automated message that greeted the Gannon family when they called to check the status of their “emergency unemployment” benefits.
“It had a voice mail. Like a little side note that emergency unemployment was no longer going to be issued,” said Alisha Gannon of Pike County.
Alisha’s husband Kelly, a laid off coal miner, has been collecting hundreds of dollars every two weeks under the program. He says his family is barely making ends meet as it is, and this recent development deeply concerns him.
“I don't know what I’m going to do. I mean I’m a payment behind anyway, and living payday to payday, this unemployment, it's not that much, but it does help,” Kelly Gannon said.
But despite their discouragement, the Gannon’s say they are doing their best to press forward.
“You know what can you do but just try…you’ve got to do it when you've got kids you know,” Alisha said.
The road ahead is uncertain, and it is one that will be travelled by more than one million Americans in the coming days.
The expiration of this unemployment insurance program is expected to immediately cut off benefits for one-point-three million people who have been unemployed for longer than 26 weeks.
* Some images used in this segment were shot by WYMT Field Photographer Justin Skeens.