Unemployment Insurance Benefits Extended
November 6, 2009
The RI Department of Labor and Training reports that unemployment insurance claimants who had previously exhausted all their entitled extended unemployment insurance benefits may now be eligible for up to 20 more weeks in additional benefits, as a result of legislation signed into law today by President Barack Obama.
Similarly, the more than 16,000 claimants currently receiving federal or state benefits through Rhode Island’s office may be eligible to collect under this new additional benefits program once their current unemployment insurance benefits are exhausted.
This extension brings the maximum number of weeks a claimant can collect benefits in Rhode Island from 79 weeks to 99 weeks.
“During an economic downturn, it takes longer for job seekers to reconnect to the job market than it takes in more prosperous times,” says Sandra M. Powell, director of the RI Department of Labor and Training. “This latest extension will help many Rhode Islanders who continue to search for work during the economy recovery.”
On Monday, November 9, the department will mail letters and eligibility forms to the 4,000 Rhode Islanders who had previously exhausted benefits and who may now be eligible for additional benefits, provided that:
In this letter, claimants will be informed that by returning their completed eligibility form, they will have both reopened their claim and certified for their first week of benefits. Claimants must follow this procedure, and will not be able reopen their claim online. Eligibility forms are due by Wednesday, November 18.
These claimants will not be able to call TeleServe to certify for payments for the week ending November 14. However, for each of the following weeks they are claiming benefits, they will be required to call the TeleServe line to certify for their weekly payment.
Assistant Director of Income Support Raymond Filippone adds, “The Department of Labor and Training has made implementing this latest unemployment insurance benefit program a top priority, and has been collaborating with the Division of Information Technology to make sure that the program moves forward as quickly as possible.”
Also next week, the department will mail new monetary determinations to claimants currently collecting benefits under Tier 2 of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The monetary determinations, or benefit credits, will be recalculated to reflect the latest benefits extension.
The 14,000 claimants currently receiving regular unemployment insurance in Rhode Island may be eligible for this benefit extension in the future if they continue to seek but are unable to secure full-time work.
The latest extension of unemployment insurance benefits is one of several new and/or revised extended benefits programs offered to eligible Rhode Island job seekers in the past 18 months. In July 2008, the state’s three-month average unemployment rate caused Rhode Island to trigger on a state extended benefit program, offering up to 13 weeks of additional benefits beyond the maximum 26 weeks available through regular unemployment insurance. Also in July 2008, the federal government offered up to 13 more weeks of benefits through its Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. This brought the total weeks of available benefits in Rhode Island to a 52-week maximum.
Then, in November 2008, the average unemployment rate caused the state to trigger on an additional seven weeks of state extended benefits. Also in November, the federal government expanded the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, thereby adding 20 additional weeks to the maximum number a claimant can collect under the program. Together, these changes brought the total weeks of available benefits in Rhode Island to a 79-week maximum.
Funding for the latest additional benefits program comes from federal sources, as do all the extended benefits programs currently offered in Rhode Island.
Those seeking further information on this latest benefit extension may visit the Department of Labor and Training web site at www.dlt.ri.gov or may listen to an informational message at (401) 462-8820.