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Governor Rendell: Extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation, COBRA Provides Immediate Financial Help to Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvanians who are out of work through no fault of their own now may qualify for two more months of emergency unemployment compensation and health care coverage through the COBRA premium reduction.

"The continuation of federal UC benefits and health insurance assistance, even for two months, is great news for Pennsylvanians this holiday season," said Governor Rendell. "Now, more families can receive benefits they need to pay for food, shelter, utilities and other necessities during the coldest months of the year."

Legislation signed by President Obama on Dec. 19 extends the qualification period for federal emergency unemployment compensation, or EUC, and the $25 weekly Federal Additional Compensation payment through Feb. 28, 2010. The continuation of the EUC program allows eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for six additional weeks of benefits that had been included in previous legislation.

Individuals who believe they qualify should simply continue filing their biweekly claims. Claimants will be contacted by the Department of Labor & Industry if any additional information is needed.

Individuals who exhaust their maximum of 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits by Feb. 20, 2010, may qualify for EUC benefits. The maximum amount of EUC benefits an individual can receive is 53 weeks. The last payable week of EUC benefits is the week ending July 31, 2010.

After exhausting EUC benefits, individuals may be eligible to receive a maximum of 20 weeks of state extended benefits. Overall, Pennsylvanians now may be eligible for total of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Additional information is available online at

The federal legislation also extended the eligibility period for the COBRA premium reduction through Feb. 28, 2010, and expanded from nine to 25 months the maximum period for receiving the subsidy.

Individuals who had reached the end of the reduced premium period before the legislation extended it to 15 months will have additional time to pay the reduced premiums. To continue coverage, 35 percent of premium costs must be paid within 60 days after date of enactment or, if later, 30 days after notice of the extension is provided by their plan administrator.

Individuals should contact their plan or health insurance provider for information regarding the COBRA extension under their health plan. For additional assistance, contact a federal Employee Benefits Security Administration Benefits Advisor, toll-free, at 1-866-444-3272.

    Media contacts:
    David Smith, L&I; 717-787-7530
    Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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