Sequester to Affect Emergency Unemployment Benefits

Mar 15, 2013

Credit KWGS News File Photo

Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation is the latest casualty of the sequester.

Oklahomans receiving these benefits, which are awarded after a person has exhausted regular state unemployment insurance benefits, will soon see them cut.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission’s John Carpenter says the EUC benefits will be cut by 10.7 percent.

The cuts will go into effect March 31, and will affect all current and future beneficiaries.

He says about 5,500 Oklahomans currently receive the EUC benefits.

“The number is low right now because this program’s been going on for a while and also because the economy has just been improving,” Carpenter said.

The program began in July of 2008. Last year, the second and third tiers of the EUC benefits were eliminated, and the maximum number of weeks a person could receive them was reduced.

Currently, eligible claimants can receive EUC benefits for a maximum of 14 weeks.

“Some of these people are able to find jobs and move off the benefits or exhaust the benefits,” Carpenter said.

Still, he called the cuts to EUC “not helpful.”

Administrative funding to the OESC will also be reduced, though Carpenter says that shouldn’t cause furloughs or layoffs at the agency itself.

Additionally, “This is not going to affect anyone receiving the regular state unemployment benefits,” Carpenter stressed. “The money that pays the extended federal benefits actually comes from the federal government; it doesn’t come from the trust fund that Oklahoma uses to pay its unemployment benefits.”

You can visit the OESC’s website to calculate your reduction in benefits.