Thursday, November 12, 2009

Minnesota's jobless benefits extended

unemployment insurance benefits

Minnesota unemployment insurance benefits have been extended by up to 14 weeks, state officials announced Thursday, giving a much-needed lifeline to thousands who were out of jobs.

About 10,000 Minnesotans will be immediately affected by the federal extension.

The change, which comes as a result of legislation signed into law Nov. 6, means unemployed Minnesotans will be eligible for up to 86 weeks of benefits when combined with past extensions.

"These benefits are a welcome relief for workers who need additional time to find jobs. Many Minnesota families will be helped by this," said Dan McElroy, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

State unemployment typically last up to 26 weeks. However, the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program now offers up to 47 additional weeks of benefits, including the new 14-week extension. Another 13 weeks of federal-state benefits are available to Minnesotans who have exhausted regular and emergency unemployment.

The state's maximum weekly benefit is $585.

About 175,000 Minnesota workers apply for unemployment benefits each week.