Changes to ARRA-related Unemployment Insurance programs
April 6, 2010
On Sunday, April 4, 2010, several unemployment insurance programs available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) began to be phased out, as Congress failed to renew these programs prior to its two-week April recess.
Claimants receiving benefits through the multi-tiered Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will continue to receive payments on their current tier of benefits but will no longer be able to advance to the next tier after this week. When these claimants exhaust the benefits available to them under their current tier, they will no longer be eligible for Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
It is important to note that the vast majority of claimants who will lose their eligibility for Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation will become eligible for State Extended Benefits. These claimants may experience a one-week interruption of payments while the department processes their information. However, these same claimants will be paid retroactively for the week in which benefits were not received. Claimants who are no longer eligible for Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits but who will be eligible for State Extended Benefits will be notified by mail this week.
Some claimants exhausting their Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits may not be able to collect additional benefits because they have already collected all the State Extended Benefits available to them. This scenario applies only to those who were collecting State Extended Benefits last fall, before the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was expanded. Claimants no longer eligible for Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation and not eligible for State Extended Benefits will be notified by mail.
Another program available through ARRA, the Federal Additional Compensation program, will not be applied to any new claims effective April 4, 2010 or thereafter. The Federal Additional Compensation program adds $25 dollars to every unemployment insurance weekly payment, and will remain in effect for existing claims through September of this year.
Lastly, the U.S. government, which through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been funding 100 percent of the State Extended Benefits program, will now fund only 50 percent of claims filed on or after April 4, 2010. The remaining costs of these State Extended Benefits claims will be incurred by the State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
Congress may choose to reinstate one or more of these programs at a later date. If it reinstates these programs, it may also choose to make the payments retroactive. The Department of Labor and Training will post updates on its web site, www.dlt.ri.gov, as information becomes available.
Please note that none of these changes impacts Rhode Island’s regular unemployment insurance program, which offers up to 26 weeks of benefits for unemployed workers laid off through no fault of their own and actively seeking employment. More information on Unemployment Insurance programs in Rhode Island is available through the Department of Labor and Training web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.