October 23, 2008
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced today that, due to the recently released unemployment rate, Rhode Island has triggered on a new level of state extended unemployment insurance benefits. Known as High Unemployment Extended Benefits, this new level raises the maximum number of payable weeks from 13 to 20. These additional extended benefits will go into effect the week beginning November 9, 2008.
Under Rhode Island law, this increase is legislated to occur when the state’s three-month average unemployment rate meets or exceeds eight percent. The federal government confirmed this week that Rhode Island’s September unemployment rate was 8.8 percent, a figure that raised the state’s three-month average unemployment rate above 8 percent. High Unemployment Extended Benefits will remain in effect in Rhode Island for a minimum of 13 weeks, at which time the three-month average unemployment rate will be recalculated.
Extended benefits apply to eligible job seekers who have exhausted both their regular unemployment insurance benefits and any additional federal emergency unemployment compensation. Eligibility is based on a variety of factors, including work history and earnings, and can only be determined by trained unemployment insurance representatives. Those customers whose eligibility for state extended benefits has already been confirmed will automatically have their claims recalculated by the department. More than 2,000 Rhode Islanders are currently collecting state extended benefits.
State extended benefits are funded by both the state unemployment insurance trust fund and federal unemployment insurance trust fund. These funds are financed by employer contributions only; no state general revenue funds are used to pay unemployment insurance benefits.
Claimants for any of Rhode Island’s three current unemployment insurance benefits programs—regular unemployment insurance, federal emergency unemployment compensation and state extended benefits—must be able and available for full-time work, and be actively seeking work for any week for which they are claiming benefits.
The Unemployment Insurance Service Center can be reached at (401) 243-9100. The public can learn about Extended Benefits by visiting the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.
About the RI Department of Labor and Training