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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [04/20/2009]
Contact Name: Peggy Abrahamson or Suzy Bohnert
Phone Number: (202) 693-7909 or x4665
Release Number: 09-0420-BOS

U.S. Labor Department announces release of $54.2 million in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to Massachusetts

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today certified for release $54,227,780 in unemployment insurance (UI) modernization incentive funds to the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts qualified for the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) by allowing workers to use their more recent earnings to qualify for benefits. Massachusetts' approved application will be posted at the department's Employment and Training Administration Web site at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery.

"Massachusetts is a trailblazer at understanding the importance of providing economic security to workers who have entered the workforce recently and lost their jobs through no fault of their own," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The commonwealth's law exceeds federal requirements and provides vital assistance to workers."

The Massachusetts Department of Employment Security can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

"As families in the commonwealth continue to struggle to make ends meet, we will use every possible resource to provide assistance to our displaced workers," said Gov. Deval Patrick. "Massachusetts is committed to the creation of an innovative and dynamic unemployment insurance system to address the needs of our workers."

The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. Each state can qualify for a share of those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions. To date, in addition to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota have been certified by the Labor Department to receive a share of the funds.