Unemployment Insurance assistance has been extended for up to 13 weeks for those who have exhausted their benefits, the Louisiana Department of Labor announced.
“Those people who have used up their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits are now eligible to receive up to 13 weeks of continued assistance,” said Marianne Sullivan, assistant secretary of labor’s Office of Regulatory Services. “Their weekly benefits will remain the same for this period of time.”
Because of the high unemployment rate following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana’s workers qualify for the federal Extended Benefits (EB) program. The federal government will pay for half the cost of the EB program and the other half will come out of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
“While the extension may have been triggered by the effects of the storms, initially it will have no bearing on storm victims because they have not exhausted their benefits yet,” Sullivan said.
Who qualifies? Those persons collecting regular state unemployment insurance whose benefits have ended may qualify for up to 13 weeks of additional assistance if they meet the EB program requirements. Those who filed a claim for regular unemployment benefits in the past year, specifically, those who started claiming benefits since November 2004 may qualify if they are still unemployed and looking for work.
Federal law limits extended benefits to just two weeks of benefits for those workers no longer residing in Louisiana.
Potentially eligible individuals will be provided instructions on how to and when to file. To be properly notified, individuals who have moved since they stopped collecting regular UI should submit their change of address online at www.laworks.net or by phone by calling 1-800-430-8076.
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