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Governor Rell: Federal Law Takes Effect To Provide 14 More Weeks of Benefits to Unemployed Residents

For immediate release
November 16, 2009

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that an expanded federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program has now taken effect to provide an additional 14 weeks of benefits to Connecticut’s jobless residents.


According to Governor Rell, the legislation provides a “third tier” of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) benefits to states with total unemployment rates of at least 6% over a three-month average.


“While rising unemployment rates are far from good news, I am pleased to see that Congress has responded to my requests to provide more benefits assistance,” Governor Rell said. “The expansion of this program means that Connecticut residents are now potentially eligible to collect 93 weeks of state and federal benefits while looking for new jobs.


“Although economists believe the nation’s economy is showing signs of improvement, they also predict that meaningful job growth will not take place until next year.  While Connecticut is making gains toward emerging from this recession, our first priority is to help those who continue their struggle to find jobs. This newest federal expansion of benefits will help families to bridge the gap between joblessness and employment.”


On October 23, Governor Rell urged Connecticut’s Congressional leaders to protect and extend jobless benefits for more than 100,000 residents. In her letter, the Governor also asked Congress to push for additional stimulus funds to replenish the state’s depleted Unemployment Trust Fund.


With this latest expansion of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, Connecticut benefits include 26 weeks of state benefits, 47 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC Tiers 1, 2, and 3), and 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (13 weeks of Extended Benefits and seven weeks of High Extended Benefits).


Connecticut qualified for EUC08 Tier 3 benefits, as well as seven additional weeks of Extended Benefits, simultaneously. For those states experiencing the expansion of both EOC08 and EB programs at the same time, the U.S. Department of Labor gave states the option to administer the 14 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation before providing Extended Benefits. This option allows states to streamline programming changes and thus ensure continuous payment of unemployment benefits.


Individuals could begin filing claims under the expanded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08 Tier 3) program beginning Sunday, November 15.


Claimants eligible were those who exhausted their second tier of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08 Tier 2) and those who exhausted or are filing for Extended Benefits. Claimants currently collecting EUC08 are automatically eligible to file for EUC08 Tier 3 once they have exhausted their EUC08 Tier 2 benefits.


Claimants eligible for the additional seven weeks of Extended Benefits were sent a letter several weeks ago by the Labor Department, letting them know they were eligible for HEB – High Extended Benefits. However, due to the new legislation, they will first receive the EUC08 Tier 3 benefits.


In states where the total unemployment rate is at least 8.5% over a three-month average, the new legislation also provides for EUC08 Tier 4 – an additional six weeks of benefits, for a total of 20 weeks.  At this time, Connecticut’s total unemployment rate is not high enough to qualify for these additional six weeks.

Media contact: Nancy Steffens  (860) 263-6535

200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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