Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Could 54,000 Residents

HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell said more than 54,000 out-of-work Pennsylvanians, who have exhausted their 13 weeks of federally funded emergency unemployment compensation, may now be eligible for seven additional weeks of benefits.

“This new money provides an immediate financial lifeline for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians and their families who are in great need as the holiday season begins,” Rendell said.

Through federal legislation enacted Nov. 21, unemployed Pennsylvanians who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits can now apply for up to 20 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation. The average emergency unemployment benefit is $313 per week. So far this year, Pennsylvanians have received nearly $370 million in emergency unemployment benefits.

Pennsylvania’s relative economic good health – a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate below 6 percent – disqualified the commonwealth from receiving an additional 13 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation funding through the new legislation signed Friday by the President.

In his role as chairman of the National Governors Association, Rendell last month called on Congress to pass an economic recovery package that provides additional funding to the states for Medicaid and investments in our nation’s infrastructure, along with other measures including extending unemployment benefits.

Over the next two weeks, potentially eligible claimants will be contacted by the Department of Labor & Industry via mail with information and instructions on filing for the emergency unemployment compensation. The department asks that claimants allow at least two weeks for the delivery of the eligibility notices. If claimants have not received a notice by Dec. 8, and believe they are eligible, they can call the unemployment compensation service center. Additional information will also be available online.

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