State Capitol News
8:41 am
Tue March 30, 2010

Spat will cost state residents some of their unemployment benefits

Phoenix, AZ – Federal legislation authorizing extra help for jobless workers
runs out on April 5th. The House already has approved a one-month
extension of funding. But the bill got stuck in the Senate when
some Republicans refused to go along unless the majority
Democrats cut other spending to pay the costs. Only thing is,
Congress is now on its Easter recess. And federal lawmakers don't
return to Washington until the following week. Steve Meissner of
the Department of Economic Security said that will mean 68,000
Arizonans who now qualify for an extra $25 a week won't get that.
Potentially more significant, some of the 103,000 now getting
extended benefits will not get checks.

(Our advice to everybody is to keep filing. That'll make it
easier for us to get you back on the system once an extension is
approved, and also, if Congress allows, it will allow us to get
you retroactive benefits.)

Extended benefits are anything beyond the 26 weeks paid for by
the state, up to a total of 99 weeks. But Meissner said not
everyone getting those payments will be immediately affected. He
said there is what amounts to a complicated system to determine
when each person needs to qualify for the next tier of benefits -
- the point at which the funding gets cut off unless and until
Congress acts. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.