State officials worry about federal unemployment benefits


The U-S Senate's decision not to extend unemployment benefits has Michigan officials worried about the state budget and the growing number of people who have exhausted their benefits.

AUDIO: The state estimates that 87,000 people will lose their unemployment benefits by Saturday if Washington doesn't extend benefits.

Congress also hasn't funded Medicaid, foster care maintenance, and adoption subsidies.

State Department of Human Services Director Ismael Ahmed says that will cost the state half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2011, with his department taking a $150-million hit.

"There is no way to get to that number," Ahmed says, "without cutting benefits."

Stephen Geskey, director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, says more than 400,000 unemployed workers in Michigan are currently getting benefits. He estimates that another 341,000 could lose their benefits by January without a federal extension.