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Cuomo signs law to extend jobless benefits

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed into law a measure extending federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits through 2011.

Without the new law, the state would not be able to continue to pay a total of 93 weeks of benefits and would have forfeited $620 million in federal payments to the unemployed, negatively impacting about 166,000 New Yorkers.
Under the program, benefits for all private sector and non-profit employees are fully federally-funded.

“This measure will ensure out-of-work New Yorkers will continue to have a federally-funded safety net to help them weather this prolonged economic downturn,” Cuomo said. “Re-entering the workforce can be daunting and time consuming. This law provides basic relief for the thousands of job-hunters across the state.”

Since 2009, New York has participated in a two-year federally-funded unemployment insurance program. In December 2010, the U.S. Congress extended the federal program by an additional year. The governor’s legislation amends New York law to allow the state to qualify for the additional third year of the program.

“Quick legislative action allowed us to access federal funds to assist those on unemployment during these challenging economic time,” said state Sen. Joseph E. Robach, chair of the Senate Labor Committee and sponsor of the governor’s bill. “Hopefully, the economy will improve with more private-sector jobs and relief for all.”