Long-Term Unemployed Will See Benefits Cut by Nearly 20 Percent

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By the end of the month, more than 30,000 people who are collecting Connecticut unemployment benefits will have their weekly checks cut by 19.2 percent.

Only people who have been collecting more than 26 weeks will face the cuts, because weeks 27 through 63 are paid by the federal government, not the state fund paid for by taxes on employers. The cuts are a consequence of sequestration, a system of across-the-board federal spending cuts that earlier affected civilian workers for the Department of Defense, air traffic controllers and much more.

For the average recipient, the check will fall from $330 to about $265 a week. For those receiving the maximum benefit, the check will fall from $591 to $478 a week.

For the approximately 50,000 people in Connecticut who have been out of work less than six months, and who are receiving benefits, their checks will remain the same until they hit the 27th week.

Some states implemented the cuts at the end of March, and for them, the cuts were 10.7 percent. The longer it took the state to change its funding levels, the steeper the cut, because the same amount of dollars had to be reduced by September 30th.

“We did it as fast as we could,” said Nancy Steffens, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor. “It took that time to make the very complex computer changes.”

One of the complexities — the reductions don’t apply to back benefits, even if they’re paid out after the reductions begin.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a press conference Wednesday to draw attention to the plight of the unemployed who will receive fewer benefits. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts study on the impact of sequestration on state unemployment systems, Alaska has the highest proportion of its labor force collecting benefits past six months, and New Jersey and Connecticut were tied for No. 2.

Because the unemployed tend to spend every dollar that comes in, the reductions will be felt in the state economy, Malloy said.

“This is heartbreaking news for unemployed residents who are struggling to find a new job during the recovery, and rely on weekly benefit payments to purchase food, pay the rent, or keep the lights on,” said State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer.

In addition to the smaller checks, sequestration will cut $1.6 million in money for community college tuition or short-term courses for displaced workers, and nearly a half-million in salaries and benefits for workers at the CTWorks centers around the state.

Steffens said some of the CTWorks jobs are state jobs, and some are nonprofit jobs, and there will be reductions through attrition.

There will also be $150,000 cut from the workplace safety inspection division.

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9 thoughts on “Long-Term Unemployed Will See Benefits Cut by Nearly 20 Percent

  1. JD

    “We did it as fast as we could,” said Nancy Steffens, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor. “It took that time to make the very complex computer changes.”

    ROFLOL. In the business world we call this a “table change”, have Ravi do it, test it, and implement it by midnight.

    1. Sean

      You obviously have absolutely no exposure to enterprise-scale software development life cycle (SDLC or ALM). Modifications/enhancements/changes go through rigorous planning, testing (following the actual development effort) and are typically released on a set version schedule. From the time the ‘owner’ of an application asks for changes until the time of release is typically a few months.

      Ironically, if more CT residents were professional software developers, we’d have a lot less people on welfare and unemployment. There’s plenty of demand for those jobs and the pay is stellar.

  2. p hofperson

    once more let’s hit those most in need, unemployed, seniors, children. we really take care of our people. it’s shameful

  3. Steven Caron

    I support the cuts. I cannot tell you how many people I know personally who used these benefits to the maximum. When the benefits were ready to expire they found employment immediately!

  4. sue

    Just goes to show you the difference between the lazy public sector and the private sector as JD points out. In the private sector this would have been done overnight. But you see the real reason for the delay was for DANNY BOY to suck up to the unemployed thinking Congress would back down and end the sequester. But they didn’t did they DANNY BOY. And now that it will become more uneconomical for the unemployed to stay home they might actually have to look for a job. What a concept

  5. Bob Fortier

    “of its labor force collecting benefits past six months, and New Jersey and Connecticut were tied for No. 2.” One can only wonder why we are tied to second place with regard to long-term unemployment. Like others have said, it will be nice to see that someone who cannot find a job in over half a year, will now really have to look and end their vacation.
    Not once has anyone ever came to my house and ask to paint, mow the property or shovel my driveway. Working doesn’t always mean “getting hired”. I haven’t worked for anyone else in over 35 years. If you wish to survive, learn to do something people will pay you for. Also, those of us who are self-employed do not qualify for any unemployment. That incentive results in most of us finding a way to support ourselves and our families. Taking up space for a paycheck is a think of the past.

  6. art

    “Also, those of us who are self-employed do not qualify for any unemployment. That incentive results in most of us finding a way to support ourselves and our families. Taking up space for a paycheck is a think of the past.”
    Maybe you can do a remake of “The Grapes of Wrath”..that is what was done then. Thankfully I have “taken up space” for 35 years in IT and teaching IT at night so my family has gone through college, catholic Hi school, etc.

  7. Mike

    I would love to see these government officials survive on 266$/wk while trying to better yourself and go back to school, and that’s before the 19.2% cut. But it gets getter as I receive thise email that quotes:

    “Comptroller Kevin Lembo today announced that the state’s financial outlook has improved and the Fiscal Year 2013 will likely end with a surplus of approximately $164.8 million, based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

    The surplus would reach approximately $212.3 million on a modified cash basis accounting.”

    This just does not make sense to me…..

    1. Mara Lee Post author

      Dear Mike,

      The problem is that’s a surplus at the state, and the money for unemployment after the first six months comes from the federal government. Definitely no surplus at the federal level.

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