Secrets of the Job Hunt


Thursday, February 26, 2009

U.S. Department of Labor announces boost in weekly unemployment benefit amounts

Good news for unemployed workers looking for jobs. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a weekly increase in unemployment compensation, as provided for in the stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted on Feb. 17.

The new temporary Federal Additional Compensation program will provide a $25 weekly increase in unemployment compensation for eligible workers. These extra benefits are 100 percent federally-funded.

The stimulus legislation also extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which was scheduled to expire on Aug. 27, 2009. "The program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2009, for new applications, with a 'phase-out' period ending May 31, 2010," said Secretary Solis. "Both the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and the Federal Additional Compensation programs provide temporary financial support to unemployed workers to help them pay for basic necessities such as food, clothing, medicine and gasoline while they look for new jobs."

To qualify for these benefits, unemployed workers must first be determined eligible for unemployment benefits by the appropriate state workforce agency. Workers must have earned sufficient wages from prior recent employment and have been separated from employment for non-disqualifying reasons (as determined under state law). Eligible workers must also be able to work and be available for work while receiving these unemployment benefits.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have executed agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor to administer these programs.

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