PI Original Adam Doster Monday November 16th, 2009, 1:15pm

IDES: Unemployment Benefit Extension Certification Starts Next Week

Ten days ago today, President Obama signed into law
a federal unemployment benefits extension granting jobless benefits to
unemployed Americans set to exhaust their allotted insurance by
December 31, 2009. When can workers in Illinois who qualify expect
their checks to ...

Ten days ago today, President Obama signed into law a federal unemployment benefits extension granting jobless benefits to unemployed Americans set to exhaust their allotted insurance by December 31, 2009. When can workers in Illinois who qualify expect their checks to arrive? We put in a call to Greg Rivara, a spokesperson at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) late last week. He reports back that the certification of claims will begin the week of Thanksgiving. Once a claimant is deemed eligible, retroactive checks for the weeks of November 9 and November 16 will be mailed. Thanksgiving, Rivara reminds us, is a banking holiday, so no business will be conducted that Thursday.

There is also the issue of the end-of-the-year filing deadline. The bill signed by Obama earlier this month, H.R. 3548, grants an additional six weeks of unemployment aid to jobless workers who will have exhausted their benefits by the end of 2009 and live in a state with an unemployment rate at or above 8.5 percent. But because the new law treats the 20-week extension as two separate extensions (one of 14 weeks and one of six weeks) with participants required to exhaust the first 14 weeks before applying for the next six, the December 31 application deadline prevents anyone from collecting the full allotment.  (The end of the year is seven weeks away, so no one will have exhausted their initial 14 weeks by then.)

Currently, no fix has been introduced. But some members of Congress are open to the possibility of another broad unemployment extension that could address the deadline glitch and provide additional help to those who lose their insurance after the New Year. And it might be housed in the "jobs bill" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) talked up last week, although specifics about the scope of the plan were not announced. Keep an eye out on that front.

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