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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [02/04/2010]
Contact Name: Michael Trupo or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4661
Release Number: 10-0154-BOS

US Department of Labor announces $880,000 grant to provide Maine workers with health insurance payments

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced an $880,000 grant to provide an estimated 800 jobless workers in Maine with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage.

"Unemployment and lack of health insurance are twin obstacles for workers who are seeking out new careers," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This grant will help eligible workers pay for health insurance while they upgrade existing skills or seek out new careers in promising industries."

Awarded to the Maine Department of Labor, this grant will be used to make "gap filler" payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program. Under HCTC, eligible individuals can receive 80 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs.

These payments cover the gap period, or the time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the HCTC program. The state of Maine will provide up to three months of gap filler payments for the participants.

This grant is being funded by resources made available for health coverage 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/.