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Sequestration Lowers Federally-Funded Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Existing EUC and Regular State Unemployment Benefits Not Affected

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2013

 

Contact:  Joy Forehand

Office: 505.841.8450

Media Inquiries: 505.250.3926

 

 

Sequestration Lowers Federally-Funded Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Existing EUC and Regular State Unemployment Benefits Not Affected

 

(Albuquerque) – The Budget Control Act (Public Law 112-25) signed by President Obama has directed federal budget cuts, known as “sequestration,” to many federal programs, including Unemployment Insurance. The federally mandated budget cuts will affect the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (known as EUC benefits, federal extensions, or federal “Tiers”). Individuals applying for Tier 1 or Tier 2 EUC Unemployment Insurance benefits beginning June 2, 2013 will receive a reduced weekly benefit amount. The weekly benefit amount will be reduced  by  25 percent, which the department estimates may initially impact approximately 2,100 individuals who file the first few weeks of June.

This week, the department mailed letters to individuals potentially affected by this change. Additionally, individuals who apply for and are determined eligible for Tier 1 or Tier 2 benefits after June 2, 2013 will be issued a standard monetary determination that will notify them of the reduced weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount. Individuals applying for Tier 1 or Tier 2 EUC benefits can either apply online at www.jobs.state.nm.us, Sunday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. or can contact a Customer Service Agent in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Operations Center, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (1-877-664-6984).

“The Department of Workforce Solutions is obligated to implement the federal sequestration reductions as mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor,“ said Secretary Celina Bussey. “The department also stands ready to provide reemployment services to all potentially affected individuals, connect them with opportunities in the labor market, and ensure the least amount of impact to them and their families.”

The department included an informational sheet with the letter mailed out this week that details reemployment resources and services available across the state. Although EUC beneficiaries are required to fulfill job search requirements and to be continuously looking for, and be able and available for work, the department will be working closely with the New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers and local workforce development boards to target reemployment initiatives and efforts to assist the long-term unemployed. The Workforce Connection Center locations are listed at www.dws.state.nm.us or individuals can visit the New Mexico Workforce Connection online system, available 24-hours a day seven days a week, at www.jobs.state.nm.us.

The EUC program is designed to provide additional benefits to unemployed workers during periods of high unemployment. New Mexico currently qualifies for Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the program. Tier 1 and Tier 2 each provide up to 14 weeks of benefits to qualified individuals, for a total of 28 weeks. The 28 weeks of EUC are in addition to the 26 weeks of regular state benefits paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This reduction of the EUC benefits starting June 2 will reduce the benefits paid on Tier I and Tier 2 new claims but not the weeks of benefits. The maximum number of benefit weeks in New Mexico will remain 54.

Updates and additional information are available at www.dws.state.nm.us. Individuals can check information about their Unemployment Insurance claim by logging in at www.jobs.state.nm.us, Sunday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Individuals can also contact a Customer Service Agent in the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Please note that Mondays and Tuesdays are the heaviest call volume days for the UI Operations Center as Sunday is the first day of the week that individuals can certify for benefits.

 

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