HARTFORD — The latest unemployment rate released this week by the Connecticut Department of Labor is 8.4 percent for September.
This is jump from the unemployment rates for July and August, which were 7.8 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. As a result, the average for these three consecutive months now stands at 8.1 percent.
That is why Gov. Jodi Rell announced today that Connecticut’s unemployment rate has qualified the state to provide seven additional weeks of benefits to unemployed individuals.
Under federal guidelines, individuals can begin filing their claims beginning Nov. 15. The federal extension called High Extended Benefits (HEB) is provided when a state’s total unemployment rate averages eight percent or higher over three consecutive months.
According to Governor Rell, the HEB is in addition to the 26 weeks of regular state benefits, the 33 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), and the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB) currently being provided to the state’s jobless residents. With the addition of the seven weeks of HEB, claimants can potentially receive 79 weeks of unemployment benefits.
The HEB will be available to those claimants still searching for work and who have exhausted all 72 weeks of the current state and federal benefits. According to the Labor Department, claimants now receiving the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits will automatically receive the additional seven weeks. For those who have exhausted their 72 weeks of benefits, the agency will send letters to all potentially eligible individuals to notify them of the additional HEB weeks.
“The Labor Department is updating its records to allow claimants to seamlessly transition from the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits to the seven additional weeks of High Extended Benefits,” noted Governor Rell. “Although we are fortunate that Connecticut’s current unemployment rate is well below the national rate of 9.8 percent, finding a job in these challenging times is extremely difficult. This newest extension is a welcome relief to the thousands of citizens who want to work, are diligently seeking employment, but have had little success.”
Additional information about the seven weeks of HEB, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Labor Department’s Web site at www.ct.gov/dol.
Individuals needing information about other possible assistance can contact United Way’s Infoline program. This is a free referral service, with information about community services, basic needs assistance, crisis intervention and much more. 2-1-1 is toll-free from anywhere in Connecticut and it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service, which offers multilingual operators and TTY access, can be contacted by dialing 2-1-1.