More Rhode Islanders eligible under federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation
July 2, 2008
The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that extended unemployment insurance benefits will now be federally funded in Rhode Island, due to a new Emergency Unemployment Compensation agreement between the State of Rhode Island and the U.S. Department of Labor. The agreement, signed today by Governor Donald L. Carcieri, is based on legislation passed by the U.S. Congress last week and signed into law by President George W. Bush yesterday.
The federal program, effective July 6, allows up to 13 weeks in additional benefits to qualified job seekers. In Rhode Island, eligible claims for the state version of an Extended Benefits program will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. While the duration of the state program is dependent on future average unemployment rates, the federal program by law will accept new claims through March 27, 2009. The federal program also increases potentially eligible claimants in Rhode Island from 8,000-10,000 under the state program to nearly 23,000 under the federal program. Claimants whose benefit year ending date (BYE)—the one-year period in which an initial claim was filed—falls after May 5, 2007 may now be eligible for additional benefits under the federal program.
Explaining the difference in funding streams, Assistant Director of Income Support Raymond Filippone states, “Unlike the state Extended Benefits program, which draws half its payment costs from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program draws its payments solely from federal funds.”
Claimants may be eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits if they meet the following three requirements:
Additionally, claimants must meet certain earnings and other eligibility requirements to qualify for Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
During the week ending July 5, the RI Department of Labor and Training will mail notices to all those who are potentially eligible for benefits. Potential claimants will be directed to contact the Unemployment Insurance Service Center at the following dates and times, corresponding to the first letter of their last name:
During hours designated for Emergency Unemployment Compensation eligibility, the service center will not accept regular Unemployment Insurance claims. From July 7 through July 26, regular Unemployment Insurance claims may be made by telephone from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Monday through Friday or by internet 24 hours a day at www.dlt.ri.gov.
Claimants determined eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation must call the department’s automated telephone line, TeleServe, on a weekly basis and during non-business hours to certify their continued status. Unlike regular Unemployment Insurance, Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims cannot be filed online and must be filed by phone only. Those filing claims may reach the Unemployment Insurance Service Center at 401-243-9100.
The department expects to begin issuing payments during the week ending July 19.
Director of Labor and Training Sandra M. Powell reminds the public that claimants must be able and available for employment and actively seeking work for each week they receive Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Claimants must apply to or contact a minimum of three employers each week, and keep a verifiable work search record.
Powell adds, “Our knowledgeable staff members at the netWORKri one-stop career and reemployment centers located throughout the state are available to help job seekers connect to new career opportunities. They can help customers with their job search efforts, their résumés and their interviewing skills. And, they can help eligible job seekers connect to training opportunities that can improve their work skills.” Four netWORKri one-stops are located in Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and West Warwick; a Department of Labor and Training satellite office is also located in Middletown.
The public can learn about the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program by visiting the RI Department of Labor and Training’s web site at www.dlt.ri.gov. To find out more about netWORKri services, workshops and recruitments, visit www.networkri.org
RI Department of Labor and Training