Alicia Nesbitt has just two more unemployment checks—for a total amount of $348—coming to her before the end of the year.
The 56-year-old college financial aid administrator, who lives in Connecticut, has been out of work since being laid off last New Year's Eve. She has been receiving long-term unemployment benefits since June, when her state benefit checks ran out.
"If anyone had told me I would be unemployed and uncertain as to my future at my age, I would not have believed it," said Nesbitt, who is divorced and lives with her boyfriend to help with expenses.
Nesbitt is one of the 1.3 million people likely to be left with no unemployment benefits just three days after Christmas.
That's because a budget deal proposal in Congress fails to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, which provides federal funds for those who have run out of state unemployment benefits.
The program ends Dec. 28, and it will take a separate move by Congress to extend it.
(Read more: Cramer: 'Something up' with DC budget deal)
"It's frustrating Congress didn't include the extension," said Claire McKenna, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.
"The White House is in favor of it and so are some in Congress, so we're hoping for a separate measure to get passed," she said. "But it's hard to predict what will happen."