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DIGEST.

COLUMN: DIGEST

State extends jobless benefits

BOSTON - Laid-off Massachusetts workers will now get up to 39 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits, under an authorization to add 13 weeks of benefits announced by Gov. Deval L. Patrick yesterday.

The state's extended benefits authorization follows approval of a federal supplemental appropriations bill signed into law Monday that provides federal funds to cover the additional 13 weeks of benefits. The last time extended benefits were authorized nationally was March 2002 to December 2003.

State Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne M. Bump said the extended benefits are "critically important'' to families struggling to find work in a bad economy. She said the state's unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national rate.

The extension takes effect the week of July 6 and will continue through March 31, 2009. The state had already offered 30 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits, compared to most states that had been offering 26. Under the legislation passed by Congress, the federal government will fund the unemployment claims after 26 weeks.

From wire service and local staff reports
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 3, 2008
Words:181
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