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LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO END – SATURDAY

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BVN Staff Report 

The most generous federal extension program for unemployment benefits, known as FED-ED in California, won’t be available after May 12. About 93,000 people will be immediately affected, according to California’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

“The week ending May 12, 2012, will be the last week EDD can pay FED-ED benefits to eligible unemployed workers, even if someone has a remaining balance on their FED-ED extension,” according to an EDD news release. The federal government took extraordinary steps in 2009 to prop up workers who lost their jobs during the recession. The normal 26 weeks of state benefits were supplemented by three types of federal extensions that added up to 73 more weeks for a total of 99 weeks of benefits, the longest on record.

Since March 2009 when the program began, more than 912,000 unemployed Californians have received $5 billion in payments.

The EDD currently pays about $310 million a week to Californians in regular and federal extension benefits, assisting unemployed workers and their families and helping local businesses where much of these benefits are spent. California’s unemployment hit 11 percent in March — that's three percent higher than the national average.

But while it remains high, the three-month average is not 10 percent higher than it was at this time last year, making California ineligible to continue to provide extended benefits, according to U.S. Department of Labor standards.

More information about the new potential maximum weeks of federal benefit extensions can be found on the EDD website, along with more information on assistance for unemployed workers.

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