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EMERGENCY JOBLESS BENEFITS INCREASE TO 20 WEEKS

 EMERGENCY JOBLESS BENEFITS INCREASE TO 20 WEEKS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Jobless Pennsylvanians


collecting federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits (EUC) will have their maximum eligibility increased to up to 20 weeks, Labor and Industry Secretary Tom Foley announced today.
 The additional weeks of eligibility were automatically triggered based on an increase in Pennsylvania's adjusted insured unemployment rate.
 "As the national recession continues to affect every state, these extended emergency benefit payments will help tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians as they seek new jobs and try to rebuild their lives," Foley said.
 The federal program provides extended unemployment benefits to claimants whose regular jobless benefits have been exhausted. Originally, claimants in Pennsylvania were eligible for an additional 13 weeks in benefits after exhausting their regular unemployment compensation.
 Under the new benefit level, emergency unemployment benefits will be available for a maximum of 20 weeks to those who had been entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks in regular benefits. Those who had been eligible for only 16 weeks of regular unemployment checks will be eligible for an additional 16 weeks.
 The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Act, which took effect on Nov. 17, 1991, provides for the higher level to begin in the third week after a state's average insured unemployment rate reaches the 5 percent level, and to continue at least 13 weeks. Pennsylvania's average insured rate reached 5 percent for the week ending Jan. 11, and Foley said department analysts project the higher level to continue through the June 13 expiration of the federal EUC program.
 Although the program is set to end June 13, claimants who begin drawing EUC benefits by that date can continue to collect until they receive their maximum weeks.
 Persons who are currently collecting EUC benefits will have their maximum eligibility automatically extended. Those who exhaust their regular claims, and thereby become eligible for the federal program, will be enrolled at the higher level.
 When the federal program began last November, Pennsylvania mobilized a variety of resources and personnel to expedite the delivery of about 30,000 EUC checks to jobless Pennsylvanians before the Thanknsgiving Day weekend.
 The U.S. Labor Department cited Pennsylvania for issuing more EUC checks faster than any other state in the nation at the start of the program.
 EUC benefits paid to jobless claimants are entirely federally funded and do not come from the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
 The trust fund, supported by taxes paid by Pennsylvania employers and workers, is used to pay regular jobless benefits.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/29/92
 /CONTACT: Jack McGettigan of the Department of Labor & Industry, 717-787-7530/ CO: Department of Labor & Industry ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC -- PH021 -- 4782 01/29/92 13:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 29, 1992
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