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Update: Unemployed? The sequester cuts your federal long-term unemployment check 9%

Posted at: 02/27/2013 11:06 AM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 7:33 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

If the automatic spending cuts -- called the sequester -- go into effect Friday, people who receive certain federal unemployment checks will see their checks cut by 9%.

Think about it this way.

What if you got a 9 percent raise in your paycheck? Think about how much money you could spend or save. For people like Bruce Salatino -- a single father of two -- the sequester brings a 9 percent cut. On his budget, that's a lot of money.

Salatino lost his job six months ago.

"After working 20 years straight, it was a very strange experience," he said.

In a week -- Salatino goes on something called "Emergency Unemployment Compensation" and the sequester cuts those checks by 9 percent. For Salatino -- that's $37 a week.

"What would that 9% cut in the check mean to you?" I asked.

"That's $144 a month, it's one weeks worth of groceries," Salatino said. "It's a tank a gas for me a week. It's terrible to hit people that are already hurt by being out of work."

This is what the sequester means on a real-life level. It means a possible cut in late night flights in and out of Rochester's airport. Cuts to Headstart. Less money for Meals on Wheels and less money for people on emergency unemployment.

"A group of us have proposed eliminating some of these tax loop holes instead of hurting average middle class people with the sequester ," Senator Chuck Schumer said.

But the solution lies at the top.

"If you had a chance to say something to the president, the speaker and the president of the senate," I said.
"Oh, I'd love to," Salatino interjected.
"What would you tell them?"
"To just stop this cut. It's ridiculous to cut unemployment benefits, people that are already hurt, that are out of work," he said.

Here's the number to the US Labor Department office for Unemployment Insurance: (202) 693-3032.