Gov. M. Jodi Rell
announced today that unemployed Connecticut residents who have exhausted their
20 weeks of federally extended jobless benefits are now eligible for 13 more
weeks of compensation.
The Governor said the
13-week extension applies to those jobseekers who have exhausted their initial
26 weeks of state unemployment insurance and the 20 weeks of federal benefits
are now eligible for a “Second-Tier” of 13 weeks. Under federal guidelines, the
13 additional weeks are being made available to states experiencing unemployment
rates of more than 6 percent over a certain amount of time.
“These additional 13
weeks of benefits represent a welcome relief to those citizens who are
struggling to pay their bills and have not yet found new jobs,” Governor Rell
said. “These additional weeks will give individuals who worked in Connecticut a
total of 33 weeks of extended benefits.”
Governor Rell noted that
approximately half of the states in the country have met the guidelines needed
to receive federal funding for the additional 13 weeks. For those individuals
who have not found new employment and are otherwise eligible, the “Second-Tier”
benefits will be provided automatically after the initial 20 weeks of extended
benefits have been exhausted.
Residents eligible for
“Second-Tier” benefits will be notified by mail by the state Department of Labor
after they exhaust their 20-week benefits extension. They can also access the
information by Jan. 18 by reviewing their balance summaries that are available
through DOL’s online WebBenefits system or
the TeleBenefits phone service.
Patricia Mayfield said because of the national recession, the agency is
currently processing approximately 5,000 new claims as well as 80,000 continued
claims each week, a 50 percent increase over last year. She said in the final
week of December, more than 100,000 unemployment checks were issued, totaling
approximately $32 million.
Information posted on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Web site,
will provide updates and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Those
questions about the federal extension can also call toll-free at 1-877-522-6711.