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Long-term Jersey Jobless Hurt By Washington Dysfunction [AUDIO]

Automatic federal spending cuts brought about as a result of sequestration are trickling down to those who have been out of work for awhile.

Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images

Anyone who has been getting Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for more than 26 weeks is now receiving a lot less.

“Payments dropped down by 22 percent for the federal part of the claim and that’ll go through July 6 through Sept. 28,” explains Hal Wirths, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “The UI checks, only the federal, the emergency payment compensation are cut 22 percent for that period.”

Even with the cut, New Jersey is still the third-highest paying state in the country. Only Hawaii and Massachusetts are ahead of the Garden State.

“The average UI claim in New Jersey is $396,” explains Wirths. “With the federal cuts it comes to $308.”

Anyone receiving UI benefits for less than 26 weeks is not impacted because the state picks up the tab up until that point. Wirths points out that the cuts are not a choice made by the state. In fact, New Jersey waited until that last possible day to enact the reduction.

“This entire federal program ends December 28th of this year,” says Wirths.

For frequently questions and answers go to the NJ Department of Labor website.

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