About 45,000 Massachusetts residents, or one-fifth of those who are out of work, will lose their unemployment benefits on Dec. 29 unless Congress renews a program designed to help people who have struggled to find jobs, officials said. The state mailed letters on Monday alerting thousands of job seekers that their benefits would disappear just after Christmas. Those most affected by the cuts are record numbers of long-term unemployed, or those who are unemployed 27 weeks or more.
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