TOPEKA – Thousands of out-of-work Kansans will learn this week if they’re eligible for extended unemployment benefits, the Kansas Department of Labor announced today. The Department is determining if more than 9,000 Kansans are now eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation Tier III benefits. If so, some Kansans may see the first payments delivered by the end of this week.
“Given the very slow recovery we’re seeing in the labor market, these additional benefits are critical for thousands of Kansans who continue to look for work,” said Labor Secretary Jim Garner. “Our staff has been working very hard to complete the programming necessary to implement the Tier III program and we’re anxious to begin making the first benefit payments under the program this week.”
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tier III program was signed into law in November and provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits and existing EUC benefits.
Individuals who think they may be eligible for EUC Tier III benefits are encouraged to wait for notification from the Kansas Department of Labor.
On Dec. 18, 2009, the Kansas Department of Labor mailed EUC Tier III applications to more than 8,000 Kansans who had exhausted all existing benefits and were potentially eligible to receive benefits under the EUC Tier III program. Of those, the Kansas Department of Labor has received approximately 5,400 applications. About 4,100 will be processed today with first payments being made to those eligible by the end of the week.
The Kansas Department of Labor will mail an additional 6,500 letters on Jan. 21, 2010 to individuals who exhausted existing benefits after Dec. 18 and may also be eligible for EUC Tier III. Of those, approximately 5,000 remain in active claim status, which means they do not have to return an application for Tier III benefits. The Kansas Department of Labor will begin determining eligibility for those individuals today.
Approximately 1,300 of the Tier III applications already received are for individuals whose claims have become inactive, which means they have not filed a weekly claim in the past 17 days. Approximately 1,400 of those who will be mailed letters tomorrow are in inactive claim status and will need to return applications for the program to be processed manually. It is expected to take up to six weeks to manually process the full 2,700 applications.
To be eligible for Tier III EUC benefits, individuals must meet the following criteria:
· Exhausted regular state unemployment insurance benefits;
· Exhausted EUC Tier I and Tier II benefits;
· If Tier II benefits were exhausted prior to Nov. 22, 2009, all State Extended Benefits (EB) must be exhausted before being eligible to apply for Tier III;
· Not eligible for a new state unemployment insurance claim in any state or in Canada;
· Currently unemployed or working less than full-time.
The Tier III EUC program is the fifth benefit extension program implemented in Kansas since July 2008. A break out of the various benefit programs and how claimants progress from one program to the next can be found here.
The Tier III EUC benefits are federally funded and do not impact the Kansas Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. To date, nearly $344 million has been paid out to unemployed Kansans through the federal EUC program. In addition, more than $75 million in weekly supplemental benefits have been distributed in Kansas through the Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $25 weekly FAC benefit is also payable with the Tier III EUC benefits.
More information about the Tier III EUC benefits and eligibility criteria is available on the Kansas Department of Labor Web site at www.dol.ks.gov.