Extended Benefits Will Provide Relief for 166,000 New Yorkers
Queens, NY, April 11, 2011 – NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens), a member of the Senate’s Labor Committee who supported the measure, is pleased to report to his constituents that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a measure that extends federally funded unemployment insurance benefits throughout 2011. This bill, S.3928, amends the Labor Law to allow New York to take advantage of provisions contained in the recently enacted Federal Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 by modifying provisions concerning unemployment insurance extended benefits.
The extension would have expired early this spring, giving people who lose their jobs up to 80 weeks of unemployment checks instead of up to 93, for people now on the unemployment rolls, said the Senator. Without this new law, the state would not be able to continue to pay a total of 93 weeks of benefits and would have forfeited $620 million in federal payments to the unemployed, negatively impacting approximately 166,000 New Yorkers.
Since 2009, New York State has participated in a two-year, federally funded unemployment insurance program. In December 2010, the U.S. Congress extended the federal program by an additional year. The governor’s legislation amends New York State law to allow the state to qualify for the additional third year of the program.
Under the program, benefits for all private sector and nonprofit employees are fully federally funded. This act is effective immediately and “shall be deemed to have been in full force and effect on and after February 1, 2011.”
Added Addabbo, “The unemployment rate in Queens is about 8.5 percent; it’s between 8.9-9.2 percent for New York City, and 8.7 percent for our state overall. While some reports have noted that the worst of the long recession has ended, many of my people have been seeking jobs for the past year, and for some, almost two years. The governor requested quick legislative action, which has allowed us to access federal funds to assist those on unemployment. This law will give them a safety net as they continue to pursue time-consuming and daunting efforts to re-enter the workforce.” The senator is hopeful that future extensions of unemployment benefits would be unnecessary due to an improving economy and new jobs in the city. “The main goal is to find people stable employment,” Addabbo concluded.