Sunday, March 15, 2009

Governor Rell Announces Additional Help For Unemployed: 13 More Weeks of Benefits

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that the federal government has notified Connecticut that it meets the criteria for an Extended Benefits (EB) program that will provide 13 additional weeks of unemployment compensation to those who are out of work. This will increase the maximum benefit entitlement to 72 weeks for many claimants.
According to the Governor, the 13 weeks are in addition to the 26 weeks of state benefits and the 33 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC-08) currently being provided to the state’s jobless residents.
“With unemployment now at 7.3 percent, this 13 week extension is a welcome relief to those who have been unable to find jobs in an economy that has not yet turned around,” Governor Rell said.
A state “triggers” onto Extended Benefits as a result of high unemployment rates. Traditionally, when this occurs, 50 percent of EB is paid out through the state’s Trust Fund, which is funded by employer contributions, and the federal government pays the other 50 percent. However, as a result of the stimulus bill, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the Extended Benefits for 2009, saving the State of Connecticut nearly $100 million over the next year.
“Each week, the extra $25 now being added to every unemployment check as part of the stimulus bill provides our residents with another $3 million – money that is going toward paying the bills and supporting our families,” Governor Rell said. “An extended benefits program translates to an estimated $200 million that will be provided to Connecticut’s families –one more rung on the ladder we must build to help us climb out of this recession.”
The first week that claimants receiving EUC-08 will exhaust their 33 weeks of emergency benefits will be April 11, 2009. As a result, the first payable week of the federally-funded Extended Benefits will be the week ending April 18, 2009. Eligible claimants will automatically receive the additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.
“Over the past year, our state has lost more than 38,000 jobs and during that same time, Connecticut’s unemployment rate has jumped from 5 percent to 7.3 percent,” Governor Rell said. “Initial unemployment claims have risen more than 20 percent since last year, and many factors indicate that the nation, as well as Connecticut, will lose more jobs before the economy begins to grow again. While I am optimistic that Connecticut can work its way out of this recession, this newest extension of benefits will help us to keep our heads above water as we rebuild our state.”


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