Albany, NY (December 17, 2010) -
Today, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 into law. For the 200,000 New Yorkers who were facing the premature loss of unemployment benefits, the wait is now over. This bill includes a 13-month extension of federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. With the holidays upon us, it’s safe to say that millions are breathing a sigh of relief.
We’ve been preparing for this moment for some time here at the Department of Labor and are ready to pay retroactive benefits promptly. Our staff will ensure that payments are in the hands of New Yorkers by the middle of next week.
To put this in perspective, during past extensions, other states took weeks and even months to get payments out. Next week, the Department of Labor will send $40 million right out the door to over 124,000 New Yorkers. Most of them will receive two weeks worth of UI payments -- and it couldn’t come at a better time.
It’s a fact that UI benefits are a tremendous benefit to local economies. For every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars are generated in return to our economy. This money goes toward groceries, bills, school supplies and everyday needs.
Unemployment Insurance is a necessity and lifeline for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and millions across the country. But millions more Americans out there are suffering right now. They call themselves the “99 weekers” – people who exhausted anywhere between 93 and 99 weeks of benefits. There is no extension of unemployment support for them.
I met with a group of them just this week in New York City. I know they are anxious to get back to work but have been unable to find a job, despite all their efforts. They are in my thoughts this holiday season. I want every one of them to know that we are doing everything in our power to help them during this incredibly stressful time.