Tag Archive | "Emergency Unemployment Compensation"


Scott Brown Breaks With Republicans, Helps Pass Unemployment Extension

Senate Democrats broke a Republican filibuster of unemployment benefits on Monday evening, voting 60-34 to end debate and move toward a final vote on a package of bills that also includes health benefits and flood insurance extensions.

With the main procedural hurdle cleared, the Senate can vote on final passage for the package after 30 hours of debate have passed. A handful of moderate Republicans, led by Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio broke with their party to give Democrats the deciding margin.

But Collins warned that Democrats can’t keep passing temporary extensions of jobless benefits – and she might not vote for final passage of the bill even though she helped break the filibuster Monday evening.

“We’re not getting anywhere,” Collins said. “We’re just passing short-term extension after short-term extension. I am beginning to think that this is a strategy that the Democrats have to never pay for any extension, no matter what the length is, by continuing to do very short-term bills.”

This package of bills has bedeviled Democrats for two months now – first it was filibustered by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) back in February, then it was blocked by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) last month. As a result of the impasse, unemployment insurance expired over the spring recess of the past two weeks. 

A tentative deal
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35690.html#ixzz0kza80lCO

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Unemployment Benefits Extended

HARTFORD —  The U.S. Senate early Monday voted to extend unemployment benefits to help those who recently lost their job continue health insurance.

Gov. Jodi Rell and other governors around the country wrote Senate leadership  last week to urge them to make certain the bill was passed before lawmakers left Washington, D.C., for the holidays.

“This bill was critical to the continued safety and welfare of the thousands of Connecticut residents caught up in the terrible effects of the global economic downturn,” Rell said.

Rell last week expressed her concerns to Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, with copies to Connecticut Sens. Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman.

The $636.3 billion Defense Appropriations Bill was approved by the Senate on Saturday by a vote of 88-10. The bill had passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. It contains key emergency relief measures: a two-month extension in unemployment benefits and continued federal support for “COBRA coverage” – a program that allows laid-off employees to continue purchasing their employer-sponsored health care coverage. Under the program, the federal government picks up 65 percent of the cost of obtaining COBRA coverage.

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State Releases Jobless Rate, Extends Benefits

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.


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