State Extended Benefits program to change weekly certification procedure
April 22, 2009
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training today announced additional certification procedures for all unemployment insurance claimants receiving State Extended Benefits, effective the week ending May 2, 2009.
State Extended Benefits recipients must now mail a record of their weekly work search activities to the department to verify that they have been complying with program requirements. This change applies only to State Extended Benefit recipients, who will be notified of the requirement change by mail over the next several days. The procedural change is based on recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. All unemployment insurance claimants, including those in the State Extended Benefits program, should continue to certify for benefit payments each week through the automated TeleServe line.
Recipients of unemployment insurance benefits have been and continue to be required to conduct and document at least three approved work search-related activities each week; however, in the past only those claimants selected by a random auditing process were asked to produce their weekly records for verification. Work search activities include applying for a job opening, visiting a netWORKri One-Stop Career Center for assistance, and, for trade union members only, contacting the union hall for work opportunities.
Rhode Island triggered on its State Extended Benefit program last summer, when the state unemployment rate’s three-month moving average exceeded 6.5 percent. Initially, this allowed eligible unemployment insurance recipients to receive up to a maximum of 13 additional weeks of benefits. In late fall, Rhode Island triggered on a higher level of State Extended Benefits when the state unemployment rate’s three-month moving average exceed 8.0 percent. This extended the maximum number of weekly payments from 13 to 20. As of today, Rhode Island’s three-month moving average continues to make the state eligible for the higher level of benefits.
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has set up a new information line for State Extended Benefit claimants at (401) 243-9107. Claimants with questions about the new procedures may call this information line during call center business hours, or send an email detailing their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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