For Immediate Release - June 20, 2011

Decreasing Unemployment Rates in Massachusetts Trigger End of High Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits

BOSTON - Monday, June 20, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Labor notified Massachusetts' Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) that based on the state's decreasing unemployment rates, Massachusetts will no longer be eligible for the high unemployment portion of the Extended Benefit (EB) program as of the week ending June 18, 2011. States that have established a three-month average below 8.0 percent automatically trigger off a portion of the EB program. With Thursday's announcement of the unemployment rate dropping to 7.6 percent, Massachusetts' three-month average is now 7.8 percent.

The maximum amount of benefits payable to claimants eligible for EB on or after July 10, 2011 will be reduced from a potential maximum of twenty additional weeks of benefit payments to a potential maximum of thirteen additional weekly benefit payments. All active claimants who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits from the EB program based on the federal government's high unemployment rules will have their maximum benefits re-determined.

Out of the 185,000 claimants, 20,000 claimants receive EB. The last week for which EB benefits are payable for weeks 14 through 20, given the state's lowered unemployment rate, is the week ending July 9, 2011. Between now and July 9, an automated telephone notification will be made and a written notice that addresses the potential impact of this change to their EB claim will be mailed to impacted EB claimants. DUA projects that an estimated 6,500 of the 20,000 are currently collecting weeks 14 through 20, and therefore, will be the first group that is impacted by this announcement.

This change will have no immediate effect on the 165,000 claimants who are receiving regular unemployment insurance (UI) compensation, Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tiers I, II, & III, or Trade Re-Adjustment Assistance (TRA) benefits. Claimants who exhaust EUC Tier III benefits will still be able to apply for and receive EB if eligible.

Claimants who have not exhausted their EB benefits and who remain unemployed should continue to file their weekly claim until they are notified that their benefits are exhausted.

More information about unemployment insurance benefits can be found at www.mass.gov/dua . If you have any questions about your claim status, please call 1-877-232-6200.

Those seeking work are encouraged to continue to utilize the state's resources for job seekers. Visit <strong> <u>JobQuest</u> </strong> or stop by one of the state's <strong> <u>One-Stop Career Centers</u> </strong> .