Extension coming for unemployment?

April 20, 2009 3:26:57 PM PDT
For millions of workers who are unemployed, benefits are the lifeline helping them survive. But for tens of thousands of New Yorkers, those unemployment benefits are about to run out.So what is being done to help them?

Next month, benefits are set to run out for about 56,000 New Yorkers, including 27,000 New York City residents. But the state is right now working to secure $600 million additional federal stimulus dollars that will extend those unemployment benefits another 13 weeks.

"In the words of President Obama last week, there is a glimmer of hope," New York labor commissioner M. Patricia Smith said.

Smith said those encouraging words Monday as she announced an anticipated extension of unemployment benefits for those set to be dropped from the in May. It was welcome news for people like Melvin Minor, who just lost his job as a mover after 22 years.

"I think that's good," he said. "An extra six months or 13 weeks for unemployment. I think it's real good."

Even as state legislators scramble to take advantage of the extra $645 million in stimulus money now available, the labor department is encouraging those looking for work to take full advantage of all the help provided at its One Stop Career Centers.

Career counseling and workshops, resume-writing, computer access and job training are among the services offered.

"Training is extremely important, because for every three people out of work, there's only one job right now," Smith said.

Equally important, according to Smith, is the other financial assistance for job seekers, like food stamps, the earned income tax credit and the home energy assistance program. It is help Minor never needed before.

"I'm kind of glad they're out there," he said. "It would be nice if everybody knew they were out there, so everybody can come and get it. Because right now, we can use it."

For more information on assistance programs available, visit https://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/selfservice/.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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