published Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Georgia cuts length of jobless benefits

Georgians qualifying for unemployment benefits after today will be eligible for a maximum of 54 weeks of jobless benefits, only about half as long as the 99-week maximum offered to the unemployed during the worst of the recession.

The shorter length of jobless benefits may sound like bad news for those unable to find a job. But it’s due to better economic news in the Peach State.

According to U.S. Department of Labor rules, federal extended jobless benefits are cut as state unemployment rates decline.

Congress granted the emergency benefits to states in 2008 as long as their unemployment rate was 9 percent or higher for three months. Georgia’s dropped below that level in May, and it has remained at 8.9 percent since.

Tennessee had a similar cut in its federal extended jobless benefits in April after unemployment fell below the U.S. average in Tennessee earlier this year.

The federal extension of state jobless benefits is due to expire altogether in December, cutting jobless benefits to only six months or less in Tennessee and Georgia.

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