Federal budget cuts to hit Mass. unemployed
BOSTON (AP) -- Tens of thousands of out-of-work Massachusetts residents who have been collecting unemployment benefits for more than 26 weeks will see their federal unemployment insurance assistance cut by nearly 13 percent as the automatic federal budget cuts bite deeper into the economy, state officials announced Saturday.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance said it is notifying residents who receive federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation that their benefits will start being cut the week ending May 4. The cuts will run through the rest of the financial year that ends in September.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program benefits workers who had exhausted their state benefits.
The cuts will hit about 45,000 Massachusetts residents who currently receive the benefits. Each beneficiary now receives an average of $402 a week, but those payments will be trimmed to $351. The benefit amount for each person is calculated on individual circumstances, said Kevin Franck of the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
"These benefit reductions will only affect long-term unemployed workers who have been collecting unemployment insurance benefits for more than 26 weeks," said Department of Unemployment Assistance Director Michelle Amante. "Claimants who are still in their first 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits will not be affected."
The U.S. Department of Labor mandated the cuts under a federal law that requires across-the-board cuts to all discretionary federal programs.
The cuts will effectively hit people who need the most help after spending months without a job.
Each Massachusetts resident claiming long-term unemployment insurance benefits will receive a written notice of these changes, together with information on social safety net programs that could help reduce the impact on their health or welfare caused by the federal cuts, state officials said.
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