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Ariz. facing cuts in unemployment benefits

Thousands of out-of-work Arizona residents are facing a loss of benefits this summer as Congress aims to cut long-term assistance to the unemployed.

The Arizona Republic  reports the Arizona Department of Economic Security will begin notifying people this week affected by the loss of weeks’ worth of benefits.

DES says residents were receiving as many as 99 weeks of unemployment aid. The agency says that will go down to 79 weeks starting June 22.

If Arizona’s jobless rate drops significantly, benefits could be reduced to 54 weeks.

DES says more than 89,000 Arizonans get unemployment assistance, with half receiving federal aid.

A DES official says when Congress renewed emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed, lawmakers added triggers to gradually pare down how many people would be eligible.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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