Mass. to distribute extended jobless benefits soon
The state on Saturday will begin sending unemployment checks to residents who were cut off during the long congressional stalemate over continuing federal extensions through November.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said it will have issued 50,000 retroactive payments by Wednesday, less than three weeks after Congress reauthorized the program and President Obama signed it into law. The agency estimated about 70,000 residents lost benefits after Congress let the extension program expire in early June.
State labor officials advised that it may take several days for paper checks to arrive or banks and other financial institutions to process direct deposits. Residents who kept claims current by recertifying each week should get their checks soon.
The state will contact remaining eligible workers by phone and mail to help them update claims and get payments processed. The state has extended hours at its call centers and encourages people who have had benefits cut off to call 1-888-998-8418. Updates are also available at www.mass.gov/dua/ui.
Congress did not add additional time to the extensions, which provided up to 99 weeks of benefits. Those who have exhausted benefits may be eligible for assistance from other organizations and nonprofits operating across the state. For information, go to the "For Residents" tab at www.mass.gov or call the social services information and referral line at 211, or 1-877-211-MASS (6277).