Starting next month, extended unemployment benefits will drop from 73 weeks to 63 weeks. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said the cut comes thanks to lower unemployment numbers.
States with an average unemployment rate of 9 percent or higher can offer what’s called Tier 4 of federal unemployment benefits that lasts for ten weeks. But because Rhode Island’s June unemployment rate of 8.9 percent brought the state’s average down below the threshold, it can no longer offer those ten weeks of extra benefits.
Starting August 10th, the long-term unemployed will now receive a maximum of 63 weeks. The DLT said those already in the fourth tier when the deadline hits will continue to receive benefits.
The DLT sends people reaching the end of unemployment benefits to the United Way’s 211 information line. United Way spokesman Chris Medici said the help line answered some 208,000 calls in 2012, many of the callers were jobless for the first time.
“They didn’t know how to need, what resources were available or what they qualified for,” said Medici. “So our folks on the phones are highly trained and highly qualified to literally walk them through all the resources that may be available.”
The state Department of Labor and Training says about 6,600 Rhode Islanders are collecting emergency unemployment benefits, 1,200 of them receive the Tier 4 benefits that will go away on August 10th.
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