MARSHFIELD, Mo -- As Congress tries to come to a deal on taxes, there is another element to the fiscal cliff not making headlines.
While the unemployment rate sits at a 49 month low in Missouri, not everyone is feeling the effects of a recovering job market. There are many families leaning on unemployment benefits to get by, and if an extension isn't passed soon they will be left with nothing.
"I moved to Republic and had a guaranteed job here. Within six months I had a lay off," said Viola Sperle, age 54.
"We got to where we were succeeding. We were completely self sustaining. We didn't need help from anyone," said 23 year old Chyna Hull. Her husband Christopher is 33. They have two children ages 5 and 3.
"[When] savings runs out," Chyna said, "unemployment is all you have."
"It's been very difficult. The job market is very competitive," Viola explained.
No matter the age or situation, they are all worrying about the same thing--unemployment benefits disappearing.
According to the National Employment Law Project, more than two million long-term unemployed workers will lose benefits if an extension isn't passed by the end of year. On top of that, nearly one million will stop seeing checks in early of 2013.
While tax increases and entitlement reforms dominate the headlines of the fiscal cliff, a possible cut off of unemployment benefits could shake families around the country.
"It's horrifying. Especially when you are raising babies," said Christopher.
"I'm at the point now because my unemployment is going to end I'm job hunting wherever there are jobs available," said Viola.
The cost to extend the benefits by another year is $30 billion. That's compared to the payroll tax cuts, which will cost $115 billion. While critics say the extensions will allow the culture of dependence to continue, the unemployed have a different view.
"We never expected to be unemployed this long. We never expected to have to rely on unemployment, to have to apply for Medicaid for our children, to have to apply for food stamps, to have to apply for assistance for Christmas.," Chyna said. "We Never expected that. That's not what we've ever wanted."
Analyst Mark Zandi of Moody's says there is an economic reason to extend benefits. While it will cost the government $30 billion dollars to renew it, for every dollar the government spends on unemployment benefits, $1.42 is pumped back into the economy.