Congress approves unemployment benefits extension
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[March 04, 2010]
CHICAGO -- There will be no
interruption in unemployment insurance benefit payments in Illinois
since Congress passed and the president signed into law a one-month
extension of the existing programs. Without the action, up to 15,000
Illinois workers each week would have exhausted their unemployment
benefits beginning Feb. 27, the Illinois Department of Employment
Security said. The extension runs through April 5.
Should there be a question about a customer's eligibility to
graduate to the next tier of benefits, the IDES will contact those
customers directly. Illinois workers need not contact IDES offices.
The congressional action affects everyone currently collecting
unemployment insurance benefits.
Unemployment insurance is a
federal and state program. Each state creates laws to administer the
program at its discretion within specific federal parameters. Since
2008, Congress, with the leadership of Presidents Bush and Obama,
temporarily authorized additional unemployment assistance to support
the unemployed as well as the communities in which they reside.
Without this latest extension, the additional benefits would have
begun to sunset at the end of February 2010.
Contributions by Illinois businesses are set by state law and
fund the first 26 weeks of unemployment insurance. Nearly $3 billion
in federal funds has been used to pay benefits past the initial 26
Unemployment insurance was never intended to replace an
individual's income. It always was intended to provide financial
assistance to an individual and, as a result, businesses that the
individual patronizes, during challenging economic conditions.
Benefit amounts are set by state law. The average weekly Illinois
benefit payment is about $315. The maximum weekly amount is $534.
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The Illinois seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month of
December was 11.1 percent. It is the most recent number available.
Nationally, the same figure is 10 percent. The unemployment rate
identifies those who are out of work and looking for a job,
regardless if they are eligible for unemployment insurance. A person
not collecting unemployment insurance still will be reflected in the
unemployment rate if they continue to look for work.
Department of Employment Security
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]