California's unemployment rate is the third highest in the nation and the state is expected to be hit the hardest if these unemployment benefits are reduced.
For those who have been out of work the longest times are not only tough, they are downright discouraging.
"I am not getting in the doors and not getting interviews; it's really discouraging and it's rather confusing," laid off social worker Sherry Gibson said.
To make matters worse, for many at a workshop for laid off workers over the age of 40, most have been out of a job for so long their unemployment benefits have already run out.
"It's an hour to hour and day to day; you have to stay hopeful within yourself or this whole thing will come crashing down on you," out of work event planner Christine Woods said.
Tuesday, a vote in Congress failed to extend another round of unemployment benefits. That means, by the end of the year, there could be nearly half a million more Californians no longer eligible to collect unemployment checks.
"We have to start focusing on the things that are important: the deficit, the spending," Sen. Scott Brown, R- Mass., said.
Republicans worry about the growing federal deficit and the $12 billion price tag that comes with an extension. But Democratic leaders made another push in Washington Wednesday, saying the whole economy will suffer if people are kicked off the unemployment rolls.
"This is money needed by families to buy necessities, to heat the home and immediately injects demand into the economy, creating jobs," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.
After years without a job, necessity is a word that many of the unemployed know all too well...
In a sign of how challenging these times are, analysts say there are five qualified applicants for every job vacancy.