For Immediate Release - March 25, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS LEGISLATION TO HELP UNEMPLOYED WORKERS REMAIN ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Bill Signing

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signs legislation to help unemployed workers. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office). View additional photos.

BOSTON - Friday, March 25, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today signed legislation to ensure that Massachusetts unemployed workers remain eligible for federal unemployment benefit extensions. The bill prevents Massachusetts from potentially losing eligibility for federally extended benefits as early as April 2011.

"I am pleased that the Legislature made this bill a priority to ensure that our unemployed workers receive the benefits necessary to support themselves, their families, and their search for new work," said Governor Patrick. "Massachusetts is adding jobs and we are recovering from the economic recession faster than most states. This bill will help us continue our strong economic recovery."

After unemployed workers exhaust their state benefits, many are eligible for federally funded benefit extensions. The bill, H 3314, was passed by the legislature yesterday and signed this morning by Governor Patrick. The legislation helps unemployed residents receive the maximum allowable federal unemployment insurance benefits and prevents them from potentially losing benefits as early as April 2011. The change was encouraged by the U.S. Department of Labor.

"These federal benefits help our unemployed workers maintain their job searches, stay in their homes and provide the basic necessities for their families," said Secretary Goldstein. "This will help our residents looking for work to maintain an active and productive job search."

Last week, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development released statewide employment numbers showing Massachusetts added 15,400 jobs over the month of February. Massachusetts' unemployment rate also dropped to 8.2%, well below the national average of 8.9%.

Individuals with questions about the status of their unemployment insurance claims are advised to contact the Division of Unemployment Assistance at 617-626-6800.

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