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HARRISBURG (CBS) – The Rendell Administration is urging people who will be affected by the failure to renew federally funded unemployment compensation to continue filing claims in case Congress acts to extend benefits once again.

Pennsylvania Labor and Industry secretary Sandi Vito says as a result of Congressional inaction, phase-out of federally funded unemployment benefits began on Saturday, and that 83,000 Pennsylvania residents have lost their December benefits, with thousands more to be added in the coming months, including those who’ve been on the rolls the maximum number of weeks.

Vito says, “That really brings the total number between now and April, including those who’ve exhausted all 99 weeks of their benefits up till now, to about 355,000 people.”

Vito also contends that there’s evidence that the failure to extend benefits will have a ripple effect on the economy. She says claimants who get notices that their benefits are ending should continue to file bi-weekly claims so that if Congress acts, claims can be processed more quickly.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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