Thursday, January 15, 2009

Connecticut's Extended (Tier 2) Unemployment Insurance Benefits

By Governor Rell's Office

Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced today that unemployed Connecticut residents who have exhausted their 20 weeks of federally extended jobless benefits are now eligible for 13 more weeks of compensation.

The Governor said the 13-week extension applies to those jobseekers who have exhausted their initial 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance and the 20 weeks of federal benefits are now eligible for a “Second-Tier” of 13 weeks. Under federal guidelines, the 13 additional weeks are being made available to states experiencing unemployment rates of more than 6 percent over a certain amount of time.

“These additional 13 weeks of benefits represent a welcome relief to those citizens who are struggling to pay their bills and have not yet found new jobs,” Governor Rell said. “These additional weeks will give individuals who worked in Connecticut a total of 33 weeks of extended benefits.”

Governor Rell noted that approximately half of the states in the country have met the guidelines needed to receive federal funding for the additional 13 weeks. For those individuals who have not found new employment and are otherwise eligible, the “Second-Tier” benefits will be provided automatically after the initial 20 weeks of extended benefits have been exhausted.

Residents eligible for “Second-Tier” benefits will be notified by mail by the state Department of Labor after they exhaust their 20-week benefits extension. They can also access the information by Jan. 18 by reviewing their balance summaries that are available through DOL’s online WebBenefits system or the TeleBenefits phone service.

Labor Commissioner Patricia Mayfield said because of the national recession, the agency is currently processing approximately 5,000 new claims as well as 80,000 continued claims each week, a 50 percent increase over last year. She said in the final week of December, more than 100,000 unemployment checks were issued, totaling approximately $32 million.

Information posted on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Web site, will provide updates and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Those with general questions about the federal extension can also call toll-free at 1-877-522-6711.

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