For Immediate Release - March 17, 2009

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES MASSACHUSETTS WORKERS WILL RECEIVE RELIEF THROUGH AMERICAN RECOVERY & REINVESTMENT ACT

Additional $25 benefit for unemployed set to begin March 23rd

BOSTON- Tuesday, March 17, 2009 -Governor Deval Patrick today announced that Massachusetts residents currently receiving unemployment benefits will collect an additional $25 in weekly compensation thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The additional compensation will begin next Monday, March 23 rd, and is retroactive from February 22, 2009.

"Providing services that sustain people during a crisis are hallmarks of both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and our Massachusetts Recovery Plan," said Governor Patrick. "We welcome this piece of relief from the federal recovery law as we continue our efforts to help Massachusetts workers get back on their feet and get back to work."

Moving to secure our common economic future, Governor Patrick unveiled his Massachusetts Recovery Plan yesterday, highlighting a statewide program to revitalize neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure and the $125 million re-construction of the Chelsea Street Bridge that will create or save 150 jobs. The Governor's plan will combine state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

  • Deliver immediate reliefby investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
  • Build a better tomorrowthrough education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
  • Reform state governmentby eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.

There are more than 230,000 claimants currently collecting unemployment benefits in Massachusetts. These individuals will receive the additional funds automatically, and do not need to file a separate claim.

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne M. Bump hailed the additional funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, noting, "This benefit is also retroactive to February 22 nd, which means that qualified claimants will be compensated for the addition they would have received during those weeks. Not only does it provide an additional cushion for families struggling to make ends meet, but it also injects funds into our state's economy."

The federal recovery law provides additional relief for unemployed Massachusetts residents using COBRA. Eligible individuals may receive a subsidy for 65% of the costs of their health care premium. More information can be found at http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/insurance/health-insurance/consumer-guides/minicobra.html.

Additionally, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has added extra staff and extended hours at the unemployment call centers. For more information, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/.

 

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