The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration are having a big impact on the nation’s long-term unemployed, who have seen their federal jobless benefits shrink by nearly 15 percent, according to a report released Tuesday.
The National Employment Law Project said the cuts lowered the average weekly payment from $289 to $246, further tightening an already difficult situation for workers who have been out of a job longer than six months.
“A family struggling to somehow stay afloat on the average weekly benefit of $289 — before the sequester reductions — is seeing its monthly payments cut by $172,” said Christine Owens, executive director of NELP. “That alone can be the difference between making — or not making — a rent, car or mortgage payment.”
The federal budget cuts took effect in March, slicing $2.4 billion from the benefits paid to the long-term jobless under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. The federally funded program pays jobless benefits to unemployed workers who have exhausted state unemployment benefits, which typically have a 26-week limit.