Tempers Flare At Kentucky Unemployment Office As Benefits Expire For Thousands

2 Removed From Kentucky Unemployment Office

WASHINGTON — Tempers flared at an unemployment office in Louisville, Ky. as the end nears for federally-funded extended jobless benefits.

Local CBS affiliate WLKY captured a bit of the scene on Monday -- amid some commotion, a man can be heard saying in a raised voice, "What did you just say to me?"

WLKY reported that "at least two people were escorted out" of the office. With the threat of benefits expiring for 100,000 Kentuckians, WLKY reported, "tempers are flaring."

It's the type of scene that contributed to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development's decision to add armed guards to each of its 36 field offices where workers can file unemployment claims (previously only some of the offices had armed security).

"There's obviously increasing stress, especially among the long-term unemployed, and also the upcoming expiration of these federal extensions will add additional stress," department spokesman Marc Lotter told HuffPost earlier this month. (The decision to hire armed guards prompted Fox News to ask, "Are America's unemployed getting dangerous?")

Two federal programs, Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits, which together provide up to 73 weeks of aid on top of 26 weeks of state benefits, expire this week because Congress has not renewed them. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 800,000 people (including Kentuckians) will be dropped from EB within a week, and an additional 1.2 million people will be ineligible for further "tiers" of EUC by the end of December.

HuffPost readers: You in this boat? Tell us about it -- email arthur@huffingtonpost.com.

Food banks are also anticipating life without the federally-funded benefits. "We are bracing for it," Vicki Escarra, CEO of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, told HuffPost.

So far members of Congress have made only symbolic efforts to reauthorize the benefits. Most observers expect Democrats to cut a deal before Christmas that renews the benefits by coupling them with an extension of tax cuts for the rich.

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