Emergency jobless benefits reactivated in Iowa

DES MOINES – About 16,000 Iowans could be eligible for additional unemployment benefits thanks to an extension passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama this week, state officials said Friday.

Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said her agency has begun work to immediately reactivate unemployed Iowans who may be in line to receive additional government assistance.

“Iowans have continued to struggle with the affects of the national recession,” Buck said in a statement. “By extending the deadline for receiving EUC (emergency unemployment compensation) benefits to Nov. 30, Iowans will have the economic safety net in place while they seek new employment opportunities.”

Eligible claimants who have stopped receiving benefits since June 2 will receive written notification for reactivating their claims, she said. Initial payments for individuals who continued with their weekly reporting will begin seeing benefits paid next Thursday or Friday.

Claimants needing to add past weeks will be able to do so via the toll-free system at 800-850-5627 or online at https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/weeklyclaims/ beginning next Tuesday, Buck added. If a claimant is unable to report weeks via the 800 number or online system, staff at one of the 55 field offices across the state will provide assistance.

The Worker Assistance Act of 2009 was designed to lessen the effects of unemployment during difficult economic times. In all, Buck said Iowans are eligible for up to 47 weeks of additional benefits once their initial weeks are exhausted. Emergency benefits are paid by the federal government and do not effect the solvency of Iowa’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, she added.

Currently, the federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits program is set to expire on Nov. 30. In order to receive additional benefits, an individual must have exhausted their regular benefits or first two tiers of benefits before Nov. 30.

Along with administering the extended emergency benefits, the Iowa Workforce Development offers a comprehensive package of services to assist unemployed workers that includes retraining assistance, help with identifying new employment opportunities, resume writing and interview skills, job placement assistance, and connections to additional services such as health insurance for children and other human services needs, Buck noted.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@gazcomm.com

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