Governor Dannel P. Malloy today directed Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Glenn Marshall and Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Roderick Bremby to develop an action plan to assist individuals that will have their unemployment benefits cut short as a result of the state's declining unemployment rate.
"The silver lining here is that jobs are being created in Connecticut. Our unemployment rate is at 7.7%, the lowest point it's been in three years," said Governor Malloy. "But if you don't have a job and are now facing the loss of benefits, you're being put in an impossible situation. There are state resources available for both assistance and job training. We need to redouble our efforts to make sure that those resources are going to people who need them most. That's why I've asked Commissioners Bremby and Marshall to get back to me with a plan in no more than two weeks. Time is of the essence."
Commissioner Bremby said, "Connecticut's safety net services, including food and medical assistance, will be available to citizens who become eligible after losing unemployment benefits. Our approach will include one-stop shopping for information and application referral at 2-1-1 United Way of Connecticut, as well as measures to bring services closer to various communities. This may include DSS workers outstationed in additional areas and expanded use of our mobile office."
"Although federal legislation enacted this past February extended the time that an individual can apply for and receive federal EUC and EB, the decreasing unemployment rate in Connecticut also decreases the number of federal benefits available to claimants," said Commissioner Marshall. "While a lower unemployment rate is a good sign for our state's recovering economy, fewer weeks of assistance represents greater challenges for those trying to pay the bills while looking for a new job."
Currently, 26 weeks of state benefits and 47 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) continue to be available to those eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. However, as a result of Connecticut's recently-announced 7.7 percent unemployment rate, the state will no longer be eligible to provide seven of the 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB).
CTDOL estimates that by the end of 2012, there will be 75,000 long-term unemployment insurance claimants that have exhausted all benefits and have not found work. By the end of 2012, approximately 17,500 unemployed people will no longer receive EB, representing a loss of $83 million that is not being pumped into the economy. Starting in May 2012, about 11,000 claimants will no longer be eligible for any other benefits; after that point, roughly 450 people a week will exhaust their benefits.
In 2009, Congress approved federally-funded EUC and EB benefits to assist those struggling to find new employment during the recession. In total, between state and federal benefits, claimants were eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment compensation. EUC benefits decreased from 53 weeks to 47 last month, and under federal legislation, all EUC benefits will end in December 2012.