Sequester cuts hit Oklahomans' unemployment benefits
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 16, 2013
3/16/13 at 5:09 AM
Thousands of jobless workers in Oklahoma receiving federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation will soon see a reduction in their weekly benefits because of sequestration, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday.
Regular state-funded unemployment insurance benefits will not be affected.
"This cut will impact an estimated 5,500 EUC claimants as well as all who collect EUC in the future," said John Carpenter, OESC public information officer, in an emailed comment.
EUC is a federally funded benefit for long-term unemployed workers who exhaust regular state unemployment insurance benefits.
The EUC program was set to expire Jan. 2, immediately ending all EUC benefit payments, but then the program was reauthorized as part of the "fiscal cliff" legislation passed by Congress at the very first of the year, Carpenter explained.
Due to sequestration-forced budget cuts, payments of EUC made on or after March 31 must be reduced by 10.7 percent. The OESC is sending notices to the active EUC recipients impacted by these cuts.
EUC was first established in July 2008 to help the long-term unemployed as they continued to look for work. When individuals exhaust regular state unemployment benefits, eligible claimants can then collect EUC benefits for a maximum of 14 weeks. EUC is paid entirely by the federal government and doesn't impact the trust fund that Oklahoma uses to pay regular unemployment benefits.
EUC claimants are encouraged to visit the OESC website where they can access additional information and an online calculator to estimate their payment reduction. The website will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.
Original Print Headline: Sequester cuts jobless benefits
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466