Extended jobless benefits slashed by 60%
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Starting this week, more than 20,000 Nevadans who receive extended jobless benefits will endure a temporary 60% cut in their weekly unemployment checks because of sequestration.
Reno resident John Furagganan used to work for Amazon, but he was laid off in June of 2012.
Furagganan recently received a letter informing him that for five weeks his unemployment benefits will be cut from $240 a week to just $98.
"It's a combination of anger and not being able to do anything about it, so it's sort of hopelessness. That's how I felt."
Extended benefits kick in after regular unemployment benefits end, which is usually around 6 months.
Furagganan says he feels victimized by the cuts because he's aggressively searching for work.
"That will significantly affect my living standards, you know, as far as getting food, moving around--I don't have a vehicle so transportation, and, of course, rent."
Scott Kennedy is the state chief of unemployment insurance policy. He says the reductions only run through September, but payment amounts for October and beyond are still up in the air.
"From October forward, it all depends. The federal government is looking at sequestration again for their next fiscal year. If they do have another sequestration, it will be a different amount; it'll be much lower than the 59%, but at this point we don't know what that will be."
The extended benefits program was approved by Congress in 2009 when unemployment rates hit historic levels.
Even though Nevada still ranks worst in the country at 9.5%, the entire extended benefits program is slated to permanently end in December.