Federal unemployment benefits extended for Californians

6:42 PM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Congress and Pres. Barack Obama extended federal jobless benefits through 2012, helping an estimated 1.1 million unemployed Californians, who would have lost their extension benefits next month.

Without the new law, maximum unemployment benefits would have returned to 26 weeks, which was the pre-recession standard for benefits, California Employment Development Department (EDD) Director Pam Harris said.

The legislation adjusts the total weeks of benefits available according to the state's economy. If the state economy is weak, benefits last for 93 weeks. If the state economy improves and unemployment declines, total unemployment benefits drops to 73 weeks by the beginning of September.

This legislation does not include more weeks for benefits, but extends the current filing deadlines, Harris said.

"There are positive indicators that the economy is on the rebound," Harris said. "But with California's unemployment rate still high, there remains a need for us to continue offering a helping hand to those trying to secure employment. Federal extensions help bridge the gap with some financial support."

The FED-ED extension, if California is still eligible for it, will determine how many weeks of federal extension benefits will remain available to unemployed California.

The extension is tied to the state's unemployment rate and provides an extra 20 weeks of benefits to long term unemployed workers. The FED-ED was available to unemployed Californians since March 2009.

Harris said the legislation provides federal unemployment extension benefits through the end of 2012.


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