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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [10/20/2010]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4661
Release Number: 10-1455-PHI

US Department of Labor announces grant to help Virginians looking for work cover health insurance payments

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $3,008,790 grant to provide an estimated 1,868 jobless workers in Virginia with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage.

"The challenges associated with a job search are stressful enough without worrying about a lack of health insurance if the job seeker or a family member falls ill or needs medical attention," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Helping these Virginians maintain insurance coverage as they seek re-employment is one way we can ensure the state's working families get the support they need and deserve."

The grant, awarded to the Virginia Community College System and operated by the Virginia Employment Commission, will be used to make insurance payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and who are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Through the HCTC, eligible individuals can receive 80 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs.

Funds announced today will be used to make payments that cover the "gap period," that is, the time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments through the HCTC program. Through today's grant, the commonwealth of Virginia will provide two to three months of "gap filler" payments for participants.

Of the $3,008,790 announced today, $1,389,568 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the commonwealth demonstrates a continued need for assistance.

This grant will be funded by resources made available for National Emergency Grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG/.