By Marc Lifsher
April 25, 2012, 1:24 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Close to 100,000 jobless Californians will lose as many as 20 weeks of federal unemployment insurance benefits in three weeks, state officials warned.

The extra benefits of as much as $450 a week are part of a federal extension to the regular state program known in bureaucratic parlance as FED-ED.

The federal government instituted FED-ED in March 2009 to help the long-term unemployed in California during the worst recession in 50 years.

But that assistance, the fifth such extension of benefits, is set to expire on after May 12 because of improvements in the Golden State’s economy and a drop in the unemployment rate to 11% in March.

The California Employment Development Department now is sending out notices to recipients to alert them that their FED-ED payments are about to end.

“The particularly harsh recession left many people unemployed for long periods of time. The FED-ED extension assisted them with a final 20 weeks of federal benefits while they continued to search for their next job,” said Employment Development Department Director Pam Harris. “Still, we know this is hard on our clients. We’re doing everything we can to get word out so they can plan accordingly.”

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