Nevada unemployment checks cut by 59 percent - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Nevada unemployment checks cut by 59 percent

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The average weekly check for Nevadans on long-term unemployment is about $309, but after a massive 59 percent cut in September due to federal sequestration, that check fell to about $127.

"Sequestration required that all states cut the unemployment insurance benefits of claimants by a certain percentage," said Mae Worthey of Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

In March, Nevada had the option of making a 10 percent cut to long-term unemployment checks immediately, but instead decided to hold off to coincide with the installation of a brand new computer system.

"It's a massive undertaking, so rather than program that old system we waited to put the programming into the new system that we just implemented here last week," said Worthey.

Those without work for over 26 weeks are considered long-term unemployed. 

The 59 percent cut will only last the month of September, the end of the federal fiscal calendar.

"I hope so, I hope it's not permanent," said Mechelle Williams, who's been unemployed for about a year. "I'm not trying to be on this forever. I'm trying to look for work just as well."

Williams said she has yet to receive a check in September because of delays with the new computer system. When she does, her checks will be about $100 less - income she has no way of making up.

"It's not enough to even pay something for your roommate," Williams said.

Legal file clerk Guy Ellington, who hasn't had a job interview since January, is also losing $100 a check.

"It's become even more frustrating because I'm coming to the end of my unemployment, so then what do you do?" asked Ellington.

In October, checks will be only 8 to 9 percent lower, with emergency jobless payments set to expire at the end of 2013.

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