Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

Contact Leo Rosales Cell: 518-281-6167 Office: 518-457-5519 Email: leo.rosales@labor.ny.gov www.labor.ny.gov
LABOR DEPARTMENT AND HINCHEY ANNOUNCE FEDERAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN WILL EXPAND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS FOR 1.1 MILLION NEW YORKERS
33,000 Southern Tier Unemployed Individuals Will Benefit From Expanded Aid; Filing for Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits Allowed Until December 31st; $25 Added to Weekly UI Benefits

Binghamton, NY (March 13, 2009) - New York State Deputy Commissioner of Labor for Employment Security Nancy Dunphy and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today announced that 1.1 million unemployed New Yorkers will receive expanded benefits from unemployment insurance compensation provisions that were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Hinchey helped Congress pass the economic recovery bill, which President Obama enacted into law on February 17.

In the Southern Tier alone, more than 33,000 unemployed individuals will benefit from the expanded unemployment insurance benefits. The economic impact of the ARRA’s unemployment insurance provisions is estimated to total more than $2.1 billion statewide. The impact in the Southern Tier region alone is estimated to total over $42 million.

“The federal stimulus bill will provide critical assistance to unemployed New Yorkers at a time when they need it most,” said State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith. “To everyone who is struggling to find re-employment at this difficult time, the message is ‘help is on the way.’ Our leaders in Washington have responded to the needs of working families to help them get through this unprecedented economic crisis.”

“I urge all New Yorkers who are out of work through no fault of their own to make sure they file for unemployment compensation,” Commissioner Smith continued. “I also urge them to visit their local One-Stop Career Center to register for re-employment assistance. The federal stimulus bill also includes funds for worker training, which will become available to states very soon. It is important for workers to remain in contact with their local One-Stop so that they may take advantage of appropriate training opportunities that become available.”

“As we continue our work to restore the U.S. economy, we must offer a helping hand to our fellow New Yorkers who need help the most,” Hinchey said. “With employers forced to shed jobs at record rates in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the expanded unemployment assistance contained in the economic recovery plan will make a real difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Southern Tier residents. This extra money will help individuals and families keep up with the bills, ensure that there is food on the table, pay for gas to get to job interviews, and help cover all of life's necessities that don't go away just because someone no longer has a job.”

Speaking at the Broome-Tioga Workforce New York in Binghamton, Deputy Commissioner Dunphy and Congressman Hinchey outlined how the ARRA unemployment insurance provisions will benefit New Yorkers by:

  • Allowing new claims for extended unemployment benefits to be made through December 31, 2009, with benefits payable through May 31, 2010. (Previously, the deadline for applying for extended benefits was March 31, 2009, and no payments could be made beyond August 2009.) It is estimated that this extension will help 352,000 people statewide, including more than 8,000 in the Southern Tier. New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance benefits and 33 weeks of extended benefits.
  • Increasing unemployment insurance benefits by $25 per week through December 31, 2009. The increase applies to individuals who are collecting both regular and extended unemployment insurance benefits. Approximately 900,000 people statewide and 30,000 people in the Southern Tier are expected to receive the increase to their regular benefit payments; and approximately 500,000 people statewide and over 11,000 in the Southern Tier are expected to receive the increase to their extended benefit payments. The additional payments will be made retroactive to the week ending March 1, 2009.
  • Suspending the federal income tax on the first $2,400 of unemployment insurance benefits per recipient. This provision is expected to result in an estimated federal tax savings of $215 per beneficiary in 2009.
  • Providing $412 million to New York State to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, and $29.5 million in administrative funds to help improve claims processing, add staff to field calls and resolve claims, and improve the Shared Work program.

Individuals are encouraged to check the Department of Labor’s web site at www.labor.ny.gov for current information regarding unemployment insurance, including extended benefits, eligibility rules and instructions on how to apply.

Hinchey, who is a member of the Joint Economic Committee, helped ensure House passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bill is expected to create and save up to 3.5 million jobs in the U.S., including 7,600 jobs in the congressional district Hinchey represents and 215,000 jobs across New York. In addition to expand unemployment insurance benefits, the bill provides a wide array of assistance to those most in need during this deep economic recession.

The congressman said that the economic recovery plan also provides $19.9 billion for food stamps, increasing food stamp benefits by more than 13 percent to help offset rising food costs for more than 31 million Americans, half of whom are children, including 2.1 million New Yorkers. The measure also provides funding to help workers find jobs, including $3.95 billion for adult job training, dislocated worker job training, and youth services. Additionally, the economic recovery package provides support for several critical housing programs, including $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties, and $1.5 billion for the Emergency Shelter Grant program to provide short-term rental assistance and other aid for families during the economic crisis.