THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Running out of unemployment benefits

Finding a job in this economy is very tricky. Here's a few tips if you near the end of your benefit period.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

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For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The House approved a measure last night that would extend unemployment benefits again. More than a million people could receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment. Here's how to cope if you're running out of unemployment benefits.

1. Extra unemployment on the way?

The House approved a measure that would extend unemployment by 13 weeks to those living in states that have jobless rates higher than 8.5%.

Right now, about 27 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico fall into this category. Workers in other states could qualify if their state is expected to hit an 8.5% unemployment rate soon or meets other criteria.

An estimated 400,000 people are expected to lose their checks by the end of this month and 1.4 million will by the end of the year, according to the National Employment Law Project.

In most states, unemployed people receive 26 weeks of state-funded benefits. Depending on where they live, they could get federally funded extensions for a total of 79 weeks.

This legislation now moves to the Senate. Democratic leadership has said they will try to address the issue soon. And there seems to be support for the measure among Senate Republicans. To follow all the developments, go to unemployedworkers.org.

2. Get help

Just finding a job is a challenge and a half.

Over 50% of unemployed people could not find work within six months of receiving benefits. Right now there are over six workers for each job opening.

So, instead of holding out for a job on par with what you were doing -- consider taking up part time work or retraining yourself in another area. Check out Goodwill.org.

Your local Goodwill store has a number of resources for job seekers, including job placement, childcare resources, counseling and life skills programs.

For discount medicine, go to PPARX.org. That's the Partnership For Prescription Assistance -- if you qualify, you could get even get prescriptions free.

And finally, if you're having trouble making that heating bill, LIHEAP -- a low income energy assistance program can help. Ask your local utility company how you can apply

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.

Talkback: Should unemployment benefits be extended? When do you see the job market turning around? To top of page

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