DES MOINES – Nearly 4,000 Iowans face the prospect of entering 2014 with less going into their wallets if Congress does not extend their emergency unemployment benefits.
Iowa Workforce Development officials said they have notified Iowa recipients that the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program has not been extended.
The 3,952 Iowans currently eligible for EUC benefits have been informed that the last week for which EUC will be paid is the week ending Saturday. If claimants certify for that week in a timely manner, they will receive that final EUC payment during the week ending Jan. 4.
IWD spokeswoman Kerry Koonce said the EUC expiration does not affect Iowans receiving regular state benefits.
At one point, up to 30,000 Iowans were receiving benefits under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, Koonce said, but the number has diminished as job-seekers have found employment.
State officials recently announced that Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent in November from 4.6 percent in October — the lowest rate recorded since 2008. The U.S. jobless rate stood at 7.0 percent last month.
Iowa’s statewide estimate of unemployed persons dropped to a current-year low of 72,500 in November. The total number of working Iowans continued on an upward course in November, climbing to 1,593,200 – a level that is 44,900 higher than a year ago.
Some Iowans who have been without work for an extended period may have received EUC for more than 70 weeks. Koonce said individual weekly benefits have ranged from a maximum of $408 to a minimum of $60, with an additional $15 per dependent for up to four dependents.
On average, weekly EUC payments in Iowa ranged from $285 to $325, she said.
There have been reports that bipartisan legislation to renew EUC will be introduced in early January. If passed, that legislation could continue long-term unemployment insurance benefits for three months.
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