Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Utah to increase jobless benefits

The 44,000 Utahns who receive unemployment benefits will receive an additional $25 to $75 per week beginning Sunday, although the amount may not be reflected in their checks until sometime around mid-March, according to a statement Wednesday by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which administers the unemployment insurance program in Utah.

The increase is part of the federal stimulus package and lasts from Sunday through Dec. 31, with a phase-out program until June 30, 2010. The state is required to enter an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to send out the money. In the meantime, Workforce Services is programming its systems to begin paying the extra money by March 16 and backdating money from Feb. 22.

Also part of the federal stimulus package is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which authorizes up to an extra 20 weeks of unemployment benefits, not for each claimant but rather for the entire program through Dec. 31 with a phase-out provision until May 31, 2010. About 4,400 Utahns have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and are receiving emergency unemployment compensation.
Last year at this time, 16,400 unemployed workers were filing for unemployment.

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