Assemblywoman Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) announced the Assembly passed legislation she supported to help unemployed New Yorkers receive extended federally funded unemployment insurance benefits through 2011(A.6091). The bill awaits Senate passage.
“Extending unemployment benefits is a fundamental step toward strengthening New York’s economy and aiding those who need it most as they continue searching for job opportunities,” Assemblywoman Barron said.
In May 2009, the Assembly enacted legislation that allowed New York State to receive a federal grant of $645 million for unemployment compensation. The law extended jobless benefits for an additional 13 weeks, bringing the total to 72 weeks of benefits. In December 2010, Congress extended the federally funded program for an additional year.
The new bill will amend state law and allow New York to qualify for a third year in the program. It is estimated that 166,000 unemployed New Yorkers will be affected by this legislation.
“This legislation is crucial aid for unemployed New Yorkers, because without it the state will forfeit an estimated $620 million in federally funded unemployment insurance benefits,” Assemblywoman Barron noted.
Last month marked the country’s lowest level of unemployment in nearly two years, falling to 8.9 percent. It was reported that the unemployment rate has experienced its most rapid improvement in nearly 28 years, falling a full percentage point in the past three months. New York reported state unemployment rates have declined to 8.3 percent.
“In the face of the economic downturn and one of the worst job markets in years, the falling unemployment rate provides a positive note in our climb toward New York’s recovery, but there is still a long way to go,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “Extending this program will ensure that struggling families who depend on unemployment benefits get the help they need while they continue to focus their efforts on finding a job.”