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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

States cutting Unemployment Insurance benefits

by Calculated Risk on 8/03/2011 03:14:00 PM

Here is a depressing report from the National Employment Law Project: States Made Unprecedented Cuts to Unemployment Insurance in 2011

NELP’s new analysis shows that in 2011, six states cut the maximum number of weeks that jobless workers can receive unemployment insurance to less than 26 weeks—a threshold that had served as a standard for all 50 states for more than half a century, until this year. Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina cut their available weeks down to 20; Arkansas and Illinois cut down to 25; and Florida cut to between 12 and 23 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate. Double-digit unemployment in Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida did not discourage lawmakers there from making the cuts.

... Indiana changed the formula it uses to calculate weekly benefit amounts so that the average unemployment check will drop from $283 to $220 a week.

More from the report:
Throughout the recession, states with inadequate unemployment insurance trust fund reserves have relied on loans from the federal government to pay state unemployment insurance benefits. This September, states will begin paying interest on these loans, and starting in 2012, the federal government will raise taxes on employers in borrowing states until loans are paid in full, as required by the law.