Thousands of Oklahomans face cuts in long-term jobless benefits

Federal budget cuts will require a reduction of 10.7 percent to Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits in Oklahoma.
by Brianna Bailey Published: March 16, 2013
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Thousands of unemployed Oklahomans who receive federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits will see their payments reduced by 10.7 percent at the end of March due to sequestration-forced budget cuts.

Regular state-funded unemployment payments will not be affected because of the budget cuts, said John Carpenter, spokesman for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, which processes the long-term jobless payments for beneficiaries in the state.

About 5,500 Oklahomans who receive the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation payments will be affected immediately when the benefits are reduced beginning March 31, Carpenter said.

“This is like a freight train — it can't be stopped immediately,” Carpenter said. “This is going to happen no matter what, and there really isn't anything that Congress can do to stop it.”

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission's operations are funded entirely by federal money. The agency has seen its federal funding to administer the emergency compensation program reduced along with benefit payments. But the agency, which has about 700 employees, is not facing any furloughs or layoffs because of the budget cuts, Carpenter said.

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by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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Beneficiaries can access additional information and an online calculator to estimate their payment reduction at www.oesc.ok.gov

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