Unemployment benefits increase by $25 a week

Every Oregonian receiving unemployment benefits will see a $25 increase in their weekly benefits.  The Oregon Employment Department worked quickly to put in place all programming necessary so that the increase in payments could begin as soon as possible.  Oregonians saw the increase in benefits beginning the week of March 2..  For Oregon this could mean up to $200 million in additional federal funds.
 

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program passed last year
by Congress was scheduled to sunset in March 2009.  The bill extends
the time a person can file for EUC until December 31, 2009.  EUC allows
for up to 33 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who exhaust their
original 26-week claim.
   
The amount of aid a state would
receive is dependent on the number of unemployment insurance
claimants.  At this time Oregon is expected to receive $200-$400
million for EUC.  With the expected unemployment insurance workload,
the Oregon Employment Department anticipates the allocation to be near
the top of this range. 
   
With Oregon experiencing a high
unemployment rate, the state is eligible for the Extended Benefits (EB)
Program. The EB Program allows for up to 20 additional weeks of
benefits for Oregonians who have exhausted their original 26-week claim
and their EUC claim.  Normally, 50% of the cost of these benefits are
paid by the state and 50% by the federal government.  Under the bill,
100% of EB benefits would be paid for by the federal government.
   
Oregon
would receive $90 million under the Unemployment Insurance
Modernization Act (UIMA) of this bill.  UIMA requires certain changes
to how Oregon currently administers its unemployment insurance
program.  Legislation is currently before the Oregon Legislature to
bring into statute laws that would bring Oregon into compliance with
the UIMA. If these state statutes are passed, more Oregonians
potentially would be eligible for unemployment insurance.
   
The
bill expands the Trade Act Assistance (TAA) program.  The Trade Act
assists individuals who have become unemployed as a result of increased
imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign countries. Under the
expanded program, more Oregonians will be eligible for the program.
   
Currently,
unemployment insurance benefits are fully taxable.  Under the new bill,
the first $2,400 of benefits will be free from federal taxes for tax
year 2009.
 

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