Senate Poised to Approve Unemployment Benefit Extension

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In a 60 to 40 vote, the U.S. Senate has approved a measure to extend emergency benefits to people who have been out of work for more than six months, The Washington Post reports.

The final vote will take place today and if passed, the bill will be sent to the House for approval, then to President Obama for a signature later this week.

There are currently 190,000 New Yorkers who have already exhausted their benefits. The bill would restore benefits for up to 73 weeks beyond the 26 weeks of regular unemployment compensation. The total unemployment rate in New York State, which affects whether the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) will to go into effect, is 8.5% for March, April and May, which meets the required levels for all tiers. Until the legislation passes, the New York State Department of Labor has this advice for claimants:

In the meantime, unless you have received instructions to file a new claim, please continue to claim weekly benefits in the usual manner. If and when the legislation passes, any week you claimed that is covered by the legislation will be paid to you, provided the legislation is retroactive. Extended Benefits (EB) are not currently payable after week ending June 6, 2010, even though your Benefit Payment History may show a remaining balance. Also, you are not currently able to move into a new Tier of EUC after week ending May 30, 2010. For updates on benefit extensions, continue visiting this website. For an estimate of the number of weeks you may be currently eligible for, see Chart or use the Benefits Calculator.

Said New York State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner on the pending legislation: “Our message to the U.S. Senate is simple: Please do not turn your backs on these Americans in need.”