OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state's Employment Security Department is preparing to reduce emergency unemployment compensation benefits by more than 20%.
Emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) is a federally funded program that provides additional weeks of unemployment benefits to unemployed workers who run out of regular, state-funded benefits.
Due to the federal sequester budget cuts, the benefits will reduce by 21.08%.
In Washington state, regular unemployment benefits last up to 26 weeks, then workers can receive up to 37 weeks of EUC, which is divided into a series of three tiers.
Beginning May 19, EUC recipients will see their weekly benefits reduced when they move from regular benefits onto EUC, or when they move from their current tier of EUC to the next tier.
Since EUC is a federal program, the sequester law requiring across-the-board reductions takes priority over the minimum weekly benefit established in state law. Therefore, people receiving the current minimum weekly benefit of $143 will be reduced to $112 when they move to the next EUC tier. The maximum weekly benefit is $604 for claims opened since July 2012.
About 40,000 people in Washington state are now receiving EUC or nearing the end of their regular unemployment benefits. Employment Security is using direct mail, email and phone calls to inform these individuals about the impending change.