As Conn. jobless numbers drop, so do benefits
HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut's falling unemployment rate is having the unintended consequence of leaving many jobless workers with fewer unemployment benefits.
Currently, 26 weeks of state benefits and 47 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation are available to those eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. But because of the steady drop in the state's unemployment rate, Connecticut will no longer be eligible to provide seven of the 20 weeks of extended benefits.
Unemployment dipped in March to 7.7 percent, the lowest in three years.
The state Department of Labor estimates that by the end of the year, 75,000 people will be unemployed long-term and will have exhausted their benefits.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that he asked state Labor Commissioner Glenn Marshall and Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby to propose a plan within two weeks to help those whose unemployment benefits are cut.
Bremby said social service benefits such as food and medical assistance will be available to those who are eligible after losing unemployment benefits.
Marshall said the drop in the unemployment rate below 8 percent triggered a cut in extended benefits for 20 weeks.
The falling unemployment rate spurred by the gradually improving economy is forcing similar benefits cuts in other states.
In Georgia, about 15,000 people were to lose a final 20 weeks of extended unemployment benefits beginning Saturday. The same occurred in Missouri, where the unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent in February, the lowest in 38 months and down from a peak of 9.7 percent in August 2009.
Idaho's Department of Labor says long-term unemployment benefits will expire after Dec. 31, though some jobless workers will be cut off sooner depending on when they started receiving the federal assistance.
Congress approved federally funded emergency unemployment compensation and extended benefits in 2009 to help those looking for jobs. With state and federal benefits, claimants were eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment compensation.
Emergency compensation benefits decreased from 53 weeks to 47 last month. Under federal legislation, all emergency compensation benefits will end in December.