Extended benefit programs ending for unemployment insurance in 2012
December 7, 2011
The RI Department of Labor and Training is taking proactive steps to inform current unemployment insurance claimants about the upcoming end to the two extended benefit programs currently operating in Rhode Island.
These steps include special Unemployment Insurance customer service hours for claimants whose benefits are nearing completion. Existing claimants with questions about their current unemployment insurance program may call (401) 462-8980 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dec. 12 through 29. Please note that call center representatives will not be accepting new claims at this time.
During 2011, three separate unemployment insurance programs have beenoperating in Rhode Island. The first, regular Unemployment Insurance, offers full benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. The second, Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), offers up to 53 additional weeks of benefits to job seekers who have exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. The third program, State Extended Benefits, offers up to 23 additional weeks of benefits to job seekers who have exhausted all EUC benefits. In total, these programs have allowed job seekers up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.
However, in January 2012, the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program will begin to phase out. EUC is built on four tiers of benefits, with claimants completing one tier before advancing to another. Under the phase-out plan, claimants will be allowed to continue to collect on their current tier of benefits, but will no longer be able to advance to the next benefit tier. Because EUC tiers range in size from six weeks to 20 weeks, the phase-out will not be fully implemented until late spring.
Also in January 2012, the State Extended Benefit program will cease operation completely. This means that claimants will no longer be able to receive weekly benefit payments under State Extended Benefits, even if they have not received the full amount of benefits previously allowed under the program.
Lastly, as of January, regular Unemployment Insurance claimants will no longer be eligible for any additional extended benefit programs once they have exhausted their regular benefits. This means that job seekers who file a new Unemployment Insurance claim in 2012 will have a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits available to them.
Beginning this week, the RI Department of Labor and Training is sending three mailings—one to State Extended Benefit claimants, one to EUC claimants and one to regular Unemployment Insurance claimants—which explain the impact of these benefit program changes. Included in these mailings is a list of additional state and non-profit resources (see attachment) that may provide assistance to those exhausting unemployment insurance benefits. This includes information on United Way 2-1-1, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and netWORKri One-Stop Career Centers.
In addition to its normal hours of operation, the Providence netWORKri center at One Reservoir Avenue plans to extend its hours until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, January 3 and 10, in anticipation of increased customer demand. More information and directions to netWORKri centers are available at www.networkri.org.
ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.