The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Breaking News

World, nation, state

May 4, 2013

Ohioans to see federal unemployment benefits cut

CINCINNATI — These days, the only dates Richard Crowe takes his wife on are hunts for bargains at the grocery store.

Crowe, of Wintersville, was laid off last year from RG Steel’s coke plant in nearby Follansbee, W. Va., after 34 years with the company. He is among the Ohioans who will see their unemployment checks cut about 16 percent, or an average of about $50 a week, as federal benefits in Ohio are reduced beginning Sunday. Reductions are required of all states under automatic federal spending cuts.

Crowe has relied on unemployment compensation to help pay for necessities like electricity and water and is worried about how he will pay his bills.

“We’re already living on the bare essentials,” Crowe, 54, said. “But we will have to try to cut back even more, if possible.”

When unemployed Ohioans run out of eligibility for state benefits after 26 weeks, they can move into the federal program. About 37,000 people now receive the federal jobless benefits in Ohio, though state officials don’t know exactly how many will be affected by the spending cuts.

The federal program consists of two stages of benefits of 14 weeks each. A third nine-week stage will be available starting Sunday because Ohio’s most recent three-month average unemployment rate increased to about 7 percent. Only states with unemployment rates at 7 percent or above qualify for that stage.  

The average weekly compensation of around $313 a week will drop to about $263 for Ohioans when they enter the federal benefits program or move to a new stage within the program, state officials say. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services estimates the total reduction will amount to $25 million between now and the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Currently, 91,000 Ohioans receive regular state unemployment compensation, and those benefits won’t be cut, said Job and Family Services spokesman Benjamin Johnson.

Despite the extension, Crowe says the reductions will hurt.

“We already don’t travel anywhere or eat out, and if I can’t make payments for my son’s college education, we could lose our home,” he said.

Crowe says he searches seven days a week for employment, but “it’s tough for older workers to find a job.”

While states are allowed to set their own times and methods, the goal is to get all states to implement the reductions before July, according to a U.S. Department of Labor spokesman.

“The earlier, the better,” said Jason Kuruvilla, who says the longer it takes to make the cuts required by the end of the federal fiscal year, the deeper individual cuts will have to be.

Ohio is among about 25 states to implement the changes so far and one of at least four not making across-the-board cuts, according to the New York-based National Employment Law Project.

“Not cutting across the board means a state has to get the same amount of money out of fewer people, and we think it would be fairer to spread them out and keep individual cuts lower,” said Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director for the nonprofit research group that promotes policies to help low-wage and unemployed workers.

But Johnson says that “while reducing everyone’s benefit at once may have resulted in a slightly smaller reduction, it would not have given people time to budget and prepare, which was one of our primary goals.”

Zach Schiller, research director for the nonprofit Policy Matters of Ohio, said that $50 cuts will be significant for many, regardless of when they are made.   

“Getting $300 a week keeps some people out of poverty,” he said. “And to reduce that is cruel.”

 

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 24, 2014

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 24, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Troubled childhoods may prompt men to volunteer for military service

    In the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military, men who served are more than twice as likely as those who never did to have been sexually abused as children and to have grown up around domestic violence and substance abuse, a new study has found.

    July 24, 2014

  • As poverty continues to rise, fewer Ohioans are receiving state aid

    The number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop even while poverty increases, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.

    July 24, 2014

  • ’Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

    In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste — a byproduct of oil and gas production — has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

    July 24, 2014

  • 40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 23, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video