SACRAMENTO -- Close to 100,000 jobless Californians will lose as many as 20 weeks of federal unemployment insurance benefits in three weeks, state officials warned.
The extra benefits of as much as $450 a week are part of a federal extension to the regular state program known in bureaucratic parlance as FED-ED.
The federal government instituted FED-ED in March 2009 to help the long-term unemployed in California during the worst recession in 50 years.
But that assistance, the fifth such extension of benefits, is set to expire on after May 12 because of improvements in the Golden State’s economy and a drop in the unemployment rate to 11% in March.
The California Employment Development Department now is sending out notices to recipients to alert them that their FED-ED payments are about to end.
“The particularly harsh recession left many people unemployed for long periods of time. The FED-ED extension assisted them with a final 20 weeks of federal benefits while they continued to search for their next job,” said Employment Development Department Director Pam Harris. “Still, we know this is hard on our clients. We’re doing everything we can to get word out so they can plan accordingly.”
Currently, the jobless can get as many as 99 weeks of benefits: 26 weeks from the state EDD and 73 weeks of extensions paid by the federal government.
Total benefits will drop to 89 weeks as of May 13, 79 weeks as of May 27 and 73 weeks as of Sept. 2.
California now provides unemployment insurance payments to more than 1.1 million people, with a majority receiving help from the federal jobless extensions, the EDD said.
In all, the unemployed received $17.1 billion from the state and federal programs last year, and $4.65 billion through April 13 of this year.
While the FED-ED benefits run out in May, the other four tiers of federal assistance are set to continue through the end of 2012, the EDD said.