CHICAGO – September 2, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Maureen O’Donnell today announced that Illinois has been awarded the remaining Unemployment Insurance modernization incentive funding from the federal Employment and Training Administration. The $200 million in stimulus funds bring the amount of federal money provided directly to Illinois working families since March to nearly $1 billion.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure Illinois families are supported during these unprecedented economic times,” said Governor Quinn. “Our work to secure additional Unemployment Insurance funding will allow Illinois families suffering from unemployment eligible to collect benefits longer.”
Changes signed into law by Governor Quinn earlier this year allow for more unemployed workers to be eligible to collect benefits longer. The changes leverage funding made possible through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and were made with significant input from Illinois’ organized labor and business leaders.
“This funding provides critical relief to thousands of hard-working Illinois citizens,” Director O’Donnell said. “It also shows how business and labor can work together to create positive change for everyone across the state.”
Key provisions include expanding what is known as the Extended Benefit program from 13 weeks to 20 weeks for as long as the federal government reimburses states for most of the benefits paid under the program. Typically, the federal government reimburses half of the cost of those benefits. However, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides 100 percent reimbursement of most benefits through the end of the year.
Illinois workers no longer would be declared ineligible for leaving work if they have compelling family reasons such as part of an effort to escape domestic violence; to care for an ailing immediate family member; or to follow their spouse because of a work-related transfer. Low-wage claimants also would receive higher weekly dependent’s allowances.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development.