Governor M. Jodi
Rell today announced that job-seekers in Connecticut will be getting a
“bump” in unemployment insurance of $25 a week, starting with claims filed
this week, due to the federal stimulus bill. Governor Rell said eligibility
for extra federal unemployment assistance offered to people whose state
benefits have expired is also extended under the stimulus bill.
“An additional $25 a
week is a modest increase, to be sure – but for breadwinners trying to keep
their home and family together while looking for a new job, every little bit
helps,” Governor Rell said. “At
a time when they need it most, many of our residents will get a little more
help. And the extra money will have a
broader effect, because it injects an additional $2.5 million to $3 million
a week into Connecticut’s economy. That, in turn, should help create jobs.
“I am also pleased
that job-seekers in our state will continue to be eligible for additional
help from the federal government if they aren’t able to find work quickly,”
the Governor said. “In November, Congress offered an additional 20 weeks of
unemployment assistance to all states and 13 more weeks on top of that to
states where the unemployment rate was at 6 percent or more – a distinction
that unfortunately includes Connecticut. Eligibility for those 33 weeks of
extra aid was scheduled to expire at the end of March – but under the
stimulus bill, eligibility for the aid will continue through December 31.”
Connecticut Department of Labor is updating its computer programming to
accommodate the changes. Claimants will automatically see the additional $25
in checks mailed the week of March 1. Since the additional $25 payments are
entirely funded by the federal government neither employers nor the state
will be charged.
Another important change under the stimulus bill makes the first $2,400 in
unemployment insurance benefits paid in 2009 exempt from federal income tax.
Ordinarily, all such benefits are taxable.
unemployment insurance program is serving as a lifeline to the residents in
our state who have been laid off as a result of the current national
economic downturn,” Governor Rell said. “Connecticut’s commitment to help
these families is rock-solid and the stimulus funding is an important part
of our overall support network.”