New York State Extends Unemployment Benefits By 13 Weeks

by Mike Holman

Update – Feb 7, 2011 – Legislation to add extra weeks for 99ers

Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) are reintroducing legislation this week to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for “99ers,”

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On May 12, the Senate finance committee voted and unanimously approved changes to legislation which will extend benefits to unemployed New Yorkers. There are approximately 120,000 unemployed people in New York currently receiving benefits which will run out before the end of May. These changes will extend the benefits by 13 weeks which result in a total of 72 weeks.

New York was given $645 million in federal stimulus package money to spend on unemployment benefits and administration – so far New York along with several other states has been very slow to institute changes to accomodate the federal aid. The main delay in New York was a desire to change the whole unemployment system to increase the maximum weekly benefit (currently $430) which is the lowest in the area.

These changes have not been finalized yet since the legislation now has to go the Senate floor for a full vote. Once it is passed by the legislature it has to be approved by Governor Paterson. It is expected that this will take place by the end of next week so that there will be no disruption in any unemployment insurance benefits.

Here is a quote from Senator Onorato who sponsored the bill:

“I could not be more pleased that this vital legislation, which will provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for New York’s jobless, is now moving swiftly towards becoming law,” said Senator Onorato. “Unemployment benefits for some 56,000 jobless New York residents are slated to begin running out next week, with at least 5,000 more a week after that. Passage of this legislation will provide unemployed New Yorkers with critically needed financial assistance during very difficult economic times. This is a win-win for unemployed workers in need of aid, as well as for local economies that will benefit from the money these New Yorkers will spend on food, rent and other basic needs in their communities.”

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