Sequestration hitting federal unemployment benefits

Unemployed Alaskans applying for new tiers of federal emergency unemploymenet benefits will receive reduced benefits due to the sweeping federal spending cuts known as sequestration, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development warned Monday.

Starting May 19, eligible unemployed individuals applying for benefits will see their benefit reduced by 23.9 percent due to the across-the-board cuts, which took effect automatically in March after President Barack Obama and Congress failed to agree on an alternative plan.

That means that according to the DWLD, the current average weekly EUC benefit amount of $245 would be reduced to about $186.

The department noted that sequestration does not affect Alaska’s state program, but that provides up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits instead of the 37 weeks provided for under the federal EUC program.

According to the DWLD, the cuts to the federal program could affect about 14,000 Alaskans who are either already receiving EUC benefits or are nearing the end of the 26-week period covered under the state program.


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