Sequestration Brings Reduction of Some WA Unemployment Benefits

May 8, 2013

Some Washington residents who receive unemployment benefits will soon get significantly less money from the government.

It’s a result of the federal sequestration. In Washington state, regular benefits last about six months. After that, recipients can get those benefits extended for another nine months. Those extended benefits are completely funded on the federal level. And they’re the ones getting slashed. Not dropped, but reduced by 21%.

Sheryl Hutchison is communication director with Washington’s unemployment, called “Employment Security Department.” She says people who’ve been on unemployment for a long period are already dealing with tough times.

“Unemployment benefits don’t make anybody rich. If you’ve been unemployed for a long time, it’s emotionally it’s defeating. It’s hard to keep your spirits up, and your finances are probably suffering. So to receive a 21% reduction off of a fairly small benefit to start with, I think it’s going to be a shock to a lot of people.”

The 21% reduction – just for the folks who are on extended benefits – begins to take effect on May 19th.

About 40,000 people in Washington state receive the extended benefits.

Copyright 2013 KUOW