The RI Department of Labor and Training reports that Rhode Island has again qualified for the fourth tier of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, due to the recent uptick in its unemployment rate.
The EUC program provides up to 47 weeks of federally funded unemployment insurance benefits to the long-term unemployed who have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance benefits. The program offers from one to four tiers of benefits to states, depending on the level of unemployment. A state may qualify for the fourth and final tier of EUC when its three-month moving average unemployment rate reaches or exceeds nine percent.
In August, Rhode Island's three-month moving average unemployment rate fell below nine percent, thereby disqualifying it from the fourth tier of benefits. At present, approximately 1,500 RI claimants who had exhausted their third tier after August 9th may now be eligible for the fourth tier of benefits if they are able and available for work and are actively seeking full-time employment.
To collect on the fourth tier of benefits, eligible claimants must reopen their EUC claims no earlier than December 8, 2013. The Department of Labor and Training is notifying those claimants by mail of their potential eligibility.
At this writing, all tiers of the EUC program are scheduled to end after December 28, 2013. This means that those qualifying for the fourth tier of benefits may not be able to collect the maximum weeks associated with that tier before the EUC program ends at the end of the year.