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Looming unemployment cuts have many worried
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. -- About 115-thousand unemployed people in Florida could soon have their jobless benefits cut.
A watchdog group says their payments could shrink by about 30 dollars a week by the end of the month.
Channel Three's Joe Douglass tells us what's to blame for the cuts.
If you're unemployed, you know all too well that any cut to your income can have a big impact.
Herbert Powe, Unemployed
"30 dollars...That's my water bill. So basically, they'll be takin' my water bill."
Those who've been relying on benefits say the cuts could be painful.
J.D. Sjoberg, Recently Found Work
"It is an insult to injury, especially, the majority of people on unemployment in this county do have a large family and it's gonna directly affect the mouths that they have to feed."
The government's forced, widespread cuts known as sequestration will reduce jobless benefits to anyone on the federal government's extended unemployment program.
The National Employment Law Project says weekly payments are likely to shrink by about 11 percent.
Right now, in Florida, those payments top out at 275 dollars and average about 230.
Joseph Eddy, Unemployed Veteran
"You basically will have to look for the state for help because other than that, you really can't help yourself living off of 275 dollars. It's not nothin' at all."
The federal cuts may also make it harder for agencies that help unemployed people find jobs.
Workforce Escarosa, jobs plus and Florida's 22 other workforce boards get almost all of their money from the federal government.
Their funding is likely secure through the end of June, but authorities say it could be threatened after that.
They say nearly 80-thousand people could go without the help and skills training they need to find work.
Florida already has one of the least generous unemployment programs in the country.
Its average benefit is among the lowest nationwide.
In Escambia County, Joe Douglass, Channel Three News.