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.
- High schoolers tackled a serious topic at this year's annual student government conference: gun violence at school. They listened to a presentation from an organization called Sandy Hook Promise learned about their peers efforts to prevent gun violence on campus.
- Visitors to military bases who don’t have compliant IDs will have to be accompanied by military personnel, which the leaders say will be impractical.
- Southeast Alaska’s independent ferry system is working its way out of a ridership slump. Numbers are up on the Hollis-to-Ketchikan route.
- For most of the state, the entire month of March has been clear and cold.