Chronically Unemployed Cut Off Saturday

Federal standards prevent Californians from receiving long-term unemployment benefits past May 12

By Phoebe Unterman
|  Tuesday, May 8, 2012  |  Updated 6:10 PM PDT
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Californians collecting long-term unemployment benefits will be cut off Saturday.

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.

Beginning in March 2009 and continuing through the recession, federal unemployment benefits were extended to provide up to 53 weeks of benefits, as opposed to the standard 26 weeks normally offered.

Since then, more than 900,000 Californians have collected these additional federal funds.

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 rate 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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