Thousands of Idahoans on the verge of losing federally extended jobless benefits were spared when Congress voted to continue unemployment checks to eligible workers as part of bill to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Idaho Department of Labor officials said earlier this week that 6,000 Idahoan's would be getting their final unemployment checks this week in the program that had ended on Dec. 29.
Congressional action means those benefits will continue for another year.
The original program, created at the height of the recession as thousands of Idahoans lost jobs, extended benefits up to 73 weeks beyond the maximum 26 weeks workers would draw state unemployment.
But with Idaho's falling unemployment rate, which hovered near 9 percent and has fallen to 6.8 percent, the maximum number of federally extended benefits could shrink to 28 weeks in February.
Since the program began, 95,000 Idaho workers have shared $900 million in federally financed extended benefits.