Sequester 2013: Possible sequester effects in Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Sequester 2013: Possible sequester effects in Arizona

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 8:37 am

The sequester is giving job seekers the "one-two punch," first in terms of unemployment benefits and second in job training.

Nicole Moon, spokesperson for the Department of Economic Security tells ABC15 that weekly benefits amounts will be reduced by 10 to 22 percent depending on when the reductions are implemented. No reductions will be implemented before March 31st.

The maximum payment in Arizona is $240 per week.

Federal tax will take another 10 percent of the money and state tax will take another $2.

Claimants will receive a 15-day notice prior to the reductions.

"It is concerning," said Christopher Hotchkiss who has been looking for work for several months. He was laid off last year from an engineering job. "People don't think it is much but it helps. It is hard to stretch it much farther."

The US Department of Labor, during a conference call with states this morning, provided some guidelines on sequestration-related reductions to the Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.

Based on the information they have provided, claimants can expect to see their weekly benefit amounts reduced by 10 to 22 percent depending on when the reductions are implemented.

No reductions will be implemented prior to March 31.

The Department of Economic Security (DES) is assessing the IT changes necessary for implementation to determine when the reductions will go into effect in Arizona

Reductions in payments will only apply to claimants receiving EUC benefits, and will not affect claimants who have been receiving unemployment compensation for less than 26 weeks.

Job training programs are also expected to see hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts.

The Maricopa Workforce Connections Centers provide training to some 250,000 people every year. Representatives there tell ABC15 that it is uncertain how and when the programs will be impacted but they are bracing for the cuts.

Claimants with questions about the reduction of benefits are requested not to call the Unemployment Insurance hotline prior to March 31 in order to allow the Department to maintain customer service levels, and avoid callers receiving busy signals. In addition, claimants can check the Arizona Unemployment Insurance website for further updates at www.azui.com.

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