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Extended unemployment benefits to be cut beginning Monday due to sequestration

April 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Congress fixed the air-traffic controller problem, but no such luck for the unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are expected to feel the impact of the federal government's sequestration spending cuts. Their federal unemployment benefits are about to be reduced -- starting Monday.

Notices went out earlier this month to more than 400,000 Californians that their extended unemployment benefits will be cut nearly 18 percent beginning April 28.

Washington failed to come up with a deficit reducing plan, so automatic spending cuts called "sequestration" are now going to hit jobless benefits.

The reduction does not affect those on the first 26 weeks of checks. The long-term unemployed on their 27th week or later will see $52-per-week less on average.

"When someone has such difficulties trying to find that next job, those federal extensions are meant to help them out," said Loree Levy, deputy director of the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

EDD estimates the cuts mean $250 million less in the California economy through September.

The federal sequester cuts also provide $30 million less for EDD administration and services.

Washington is already under-funding the agency.

"What we're trying to do is focus on getting benefits paid as our priority. A lot of other things may suffer though," said Levy.


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