Updated: Thursday, 01 Jul 2010, 1:51 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010, 5:49 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Thousands of Hoosiers are desperately awaiting an extension on unemployment benefits.
They say Democrats and Republicans are playing with their lives while the extension hangs in the balance.
At issue: will Congress ultimately support a jobless benefits extension?
Vicki and Jerry Risch are among the 60,000 Hoosiers who've exhausted their jobless benefits.
The state says that figure grows by 13,000 a week.
People like the Rischs want Congress to act fast. The Rischs have a hard time believing that Congress members care about everyday people.
“My major thing is, I'd like to take away their check. I'd like to see how they feel if their check is gone," Vicki Risch said.
Jerry and Vicki Risch are moving into another home after losing the last one.
Jerry lost his management job in industrial robotics almost two years and says he got his last unemployment check May 30.
Vicki is disabled.
They think Congress isn't taking the jobless benefits extension as seriously as they should.
"I think they're more worried about getting the unemployment numbers down and, on paper, they are gonna be down for next month. But the reality is they're not down. The economy is worse now. People are gonna be homeless," warned Vicki.
Both the Rischs have gone back to school hoping more education will be the answer to their current unemployment problem. But now they're concerned that their ages and credit status will be an issue.
"It was a bit of a shock when I found out that the whole thing died. And so, it just really does put a whole different spin on what we're gonna do next and how we're gonna accomplish things," said Jerry Risch.
The Rischs contacted Congressman Dan Burton for help and got a long letter back about tax cuts, which was not what they wanted to hear.
"We don't have any money coming in, so it doesn't matter whether you lower taxes or not because there's no money coming back in our pockets," Vicki said.
So far this year alone, the state has paid out well more than $1.1 billion in jobless benefits. About a fifth of all unemployed Hoosiers have now seen those benefits run out. That figure is rapidly rising.
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