Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Pennsylvania’s rising unemployment is bad news for the newly unemployed but good news for those who have been out of work for months. With December’s unemployment rate of 6.7%, Pennsylvania now qualifies for an additional 13 weeks of federal emergency unemployment compensation (EUC). The unemployed in all 50 states qualified for an additional 13 weeks compensation in June of 2008 and congress extend those benefits another 7 weeks in November to all Americans and 20 weeks to those in high unemployment states. At the time Pennsylvania’s relatively low unemployment meant PA residents were not eligible for the additional 13 weeks of payments. Pennsylvania now qualifies. Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry spokesperson David Smith says the law calls for the emergency payments to end in August but proposals have been made to extend the benefits to the end of the year as part of the economic stimulus package. Smith says the state has already handed out nearly $640-million in federal emergency unemployment benefits. He says anyone currently on unemployment will receive a notice that they qualify for the additional payments early next month.