Starting next week thousands of Alaskans will see their weekly unemployment insurance benefits shrink due to federal sequestration budget cuts.
The Alaska Department of Labor on Monday announced the average federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation check will go from about $245 a week to about $186 — a reduction of nearly 24 percent.
The cuts go into effect May 19th. They will not affect Alaskans who receive regular state unemployment, only those getting payments under the federal emergency compensation program. The state program provides up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance. Once a worker exhausts those, the federal program provides an additional 37 weeks.
The Labor Department estimates about 14,000 Alaskans are nearing the end of their state unemployment benefits or are already receiving federal emergency unemployment.
Congress created the emergency unemployment compensation program in 2008 to deal with those long term unemployed workers affected by the recession. At one point it offered up to 53 weeks of additional benefits beyond regular state unemployment.
- Juneau Finance Director Bob Bartholomew projected Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of about half of dividend funds will cost the city.
- Only three votes now separate two northern Alaska House candidates. Dean Westlake of Kotzebue has 780 votes, ahead of 777 votes for incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak, who’s from Barrow.
- Bus passes, child-care assistance, work clothing and other resources to get low-income tribal members into jobs are being cut in seven Southeast Communities..
- The U.S. Northern Command and Coast Guard have launched a major field-training exercise off Alaska’s northwest coast. Arctic Chinook is intended to demonstrate how local, state and federal agencies would respond to a simulated cruise ship accident. Coincidentally, a big luxury cruise ship will sail through the area while the exercise is under way. And to further complicate things, bad weather has just set in.