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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [12/20/2012]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Laura McGinnis
Phone Number: (202) 693-4679 or x4653
Release Number: 12-2470-PHI

US Department of Labor provides grant supplement to assist West Virginia with continued health insurance payments for jobless workers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of a $1.2 million National Emergency Grant supplement to WorkForce West Virginia. The supplement will enable the state to continue funding partial premium payments for health insurance coverage for qualified unemployed individuals and expand the number of people served.

"Health insurance is incredibly important, not just for workers, but for their families," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The additional federal funds announced today will provide continued assistance to dislocated workers so they won't be without health insurance while they search for new jobs."

The supplement will allow West Virginia to provide two to three months of "gap filler" payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Under the program, eligible individuals can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs. These payments cover the period of time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the HCTC program.

A National Emergency Grant in the amount of $500,000 was awarded to the state of West Virginia on March 28, 2011. Today's supplemental award of $1.2 million brings the total funding awarded to West Virginia to provide HCTC gap filler payments to $1.7 million. The supplement will enable payments for additional workers, bringing the total number of workers served to about 1,000, including some Ohio workers dislocated from Severstal/RG Steel facilities.

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/.