Feds impose more requires for long-term jobless to get benefits

SACRAMENTO
May 29, 2012 11:45am
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•  Includes in-person office appointments for job services

•  Will impact half a million Californians


If they want their unemployment checks, more than 500,000 of California’s long-term unemployed will be required to appear at local Employment Development Department “One-Stop Career Centers” over the next seven months to learn about employment services offered by the state and local partner organizations, and to verify that they are complying with the eligibility requirements for benefits.

The new appointment requirement is part of a reauthorization of four tiers of federal extension benefits signed by President Obama in February, the EDD says.

The legislation also requires individuals collecting federal extension benefits after they run out of regular state unemployment benefits to:

• Document their work search efforts, which now must include contacts with at least three employers a week;

• Provide their documentation upon request to the EDD; and

• Ensure they are registered in EDD’s CalJOBS, California’s online job listing and resume service, by entering or updating their resume in the system.

While all unemployed workers collecting extension benefits must now meet these requirements, the new mandatory Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment appointments apply only to those people beginning a first tier of extended benefits or transitioning to the second tier with a claim starting on or after March 25.

Claimants could lose their benefits if they fail to appear for their appointment or fail to comply with other requirements of the law, including the work search documentation and registration in CalJOBS.

“While these requirements are federally mandated, bringing in many long-term unemployed individuals for personal appointments will connect them with One-Stop Career Center services designed to help them secure an appropriate job as quickly as possible,” says EDD Director Pam Harris. “It will also further ensure that recipients of unemployment benefits are actively seeking work.”

The EDD began mailing information packets last week to claimants just starting a first or second federal extension tier of unemployment benefits. Those who started such an extension between March 25 and now will receive their notices over the next few months. The packets include:

At the appointments, the One-Stop staff will review UI claimants’ work search efforts and determine whether they meet all eligibility requirements for continued unemployment benefits.

The EDD estimates about 650,000 Californians will qualify for Tier 1 and Tier 2 federal extension benefits between by the end of the year, when the federal extension program is scheduled to end. About 20 percent of these recipients, primarily people who live a long distance from designated One-Stop Career Centers, will not be required to appear for a personal appointment but will have alternative options for skill assessments and job search assistance. That leaves an estimated half-million Californians who will receive REA notices for in-person appointments.

An estimated 1.1 million people are currently receiving unemployment benefits in California. Another 720,399 claimants have exhausted all of their available benefits.


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