FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Among all the holiday greetings arriving in the mail, 1.3 million Americans are getting letters with bad tidings.
Those are the people who will see their unemployment benefits expire on December 28, because Congress decided not to extend them.
According to the Washington state Department of Employment Security, this will impact 25,000 people in our state.
"It's been rough," said Joseph Kaitschuck of Federal Way. Six months ago, he was laid off from his security job. While he searches for another, the family pared down on expenses.
"We got rid of cable. We got rid of a home phone. We got rid of his personal cell phone," said his wife, Debra Kaitschuck.
Debra has been a stay at home mom since they have a 2-year-old child. But to make ends meet, she's now delivering newspapers and they've rented out a room in their home.
Joseph had a promising interview, but won't know if he gets the job until January.
They've been living off their savings, and unemployment. Then this week, the Kaitschucks received a letter that stated "your unemployment benefits will end December 28, 2013."
"This comes right before Christmas. Merry Christmas," said Debra Kaitschuck. "You might not have a house for much longer."
Congress failed to extend unemployment benefits with the budget deal. Thursday, Senate Democrats promised to push for a vote on a bill in early January.
"Not only will these families lose benefits, but our non partisan congressional budget office says the economy will lose 200,000 jobs if we do not extend these benefits," said Senator Patty Murray, during a press conference in Washington, D.C.
But many believe the jobless benefits discourage people from returning to the workforce.
"It's sad people rely on the freebies" said one viewer on KING 5's Facebook page.
"Reality check: Get a job," said another.
"I think it's really easy to condemn people when you're not in their shoes," said Debra.
The Kaitschucks don't know what the future holds for them. They hope if help comes it doesn't come too late.
"If things don't change, its going to be next month," said Joseph Kaitschuck, referring to when their money runs out and they won't be able to pay their mortgage. "We'll start packing up stuff next month. Because it's just not sustainable."