Posted: Dec 29, 2012 1:13 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - Some Montanans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits, at least for now, if Washington lawmakers don't act now. The Montana Unemployment Insurance Division sent notices to about 4,700 Montana residences earlier this month, letting them know that their federal benefits will end on Saturday.
December 29 is the last day the Federal Emergency Unemployment Program will be active in Montana, barring any further action from Congress. It compliments Montana's unemployment coverage, and allows folks claiming unemployment extra time to receive benefits.
The coverage time changes, but most recently claimants are allowed 28 weeks of coverage under the state of Montana, and an additional 28 weeks of federal coverage. The average weekly benefit for unemployment insurance is $262 per week, under the program that started in 2008, and has since been extended eight times.
About $391 million in benefits have been paid to Montanans, and we talked with the head of Montana's Unemployment Insurance Administrator on Friday about the program.
"And we really do understand the financial impact and stress and anxiety that these claimants have at this time of the year, strictly with the cold winter weather and the winter season, and we're poised and set to do all we can if in fact these extensions do get passed," Roy Mulvaney explained.
He added that anyone losing benefits can access information about other safety net programs through the Montana Department of Health and Human Services website.