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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [08/13/2009]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414
Release Number: 09-0920-ATL

U.S. Department of Labor announces $2 million grant to provide nearly 1,800 North Carolina workers with health insurance payments

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $2,000,000 grant to provide approximately 1,800 jobless workers with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage.

"The challenges associated with a job search are enough without worrying about a lack of health insurance if you or a family member fall ill or need medical attention," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This funding will help eligible North Carolinians pay for health insurance while they seek out new careers that pay family-supporting wages and provide benefits for the long-term."

The grant, awarded to North Carolina Department of Commerce, will be used to make "gap filler" payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program. Under the program, eligible individuals and their family members can receive 80 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs.

"This investment in our state will allow eligible out-of-work North Carolinians to maintain their health insurance," said Sen. Kay R. Hagan. "This funding will take some of the pressure off families who are trying hard to find new work in a tough economy."

"This grant will help families concentrate on making the transition from joblessness back to employment without the worry of facing unexpected and expensive medical challenges with no health insurance," said Gov. Bev Perdue.

These payments cover the gap period, that is, the month(s) to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the HCTC program. The state of North Carolina will provide two to three months of "gap filler" payments for the participants.

The amount released today will be funded by resources made available for health coverage National Emergency Grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

National Emergency Grants are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit www.doleta.gov/NEG.