Thousands in central Fla. could lose unemployment benefits

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CENTRAL FLORIDA - Nearly 21,000 people in central Florida whose unemployment benefits have been extended stand to lose them if a deal on the fiscal cliff is not reached.

Edward Ramirez said he's frustrated that lawmakers haven't been able to reach a deal.

If no deal is reached by the end of the year, on Jan. 1, Ramirez' only source of income will go way.

"I have a kid up in New York and I have an ex-wife up in New York, but the thing is -- I try and do everything I can for her. I have to pay child support and that's the main thing. If I don't pay it, I'll end up in jail," Ramirez said.

Ramirez said he's been looking for work for more than a year. He lost his job and his home in New York when his company downsized. So he moved to central Florida to live with his parents and find a job in security and transportation.

"There was a lot of hope when I first came down here. Now I have no hope," said Ramirez.

Ramirez said since there aren't any opportunities in central Florida, he's expanding his job search to other parts of the country.

He's hoping to have a new job by the first of the year, because he fears a deal won't be reached anytime soon.

"We need people to act like adults, and Congress and the Senate and even the president -- come down with a plan and not throw us off the fiscal cliff," Ramirez said.

Officials said 120,000 people statewide will lose their unemployment benefits if a deal isn't reached.