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Thurmond praises passage of jobless benefits extension

POSTED: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA — State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond commended the Georgia congressional delegation and President Bush for their decision to extend unemployment insurance benefits for jobless Americans. More than 90,000 Georgians may be eligible for the extended benefits signed into law this morning.

“The Georgia Department of Labor welcomes the opportunity to provide much-needed extended benefits to Georgia workers who have exhausted their state claims,” said Thurmond. “Workers who may be eligible will be notified by mail from the Georgia Department of Labor. It is my hope that these additional resources will help those who qualify to bridge the financial gap, as they seek new employment.”

Benefit recipients who have already exhausted their claims and meet eligibility requirements under the new legislation will receive written notification, an application, and instructions on how to apply. People who are currently receiving unemployment insurance benefits and exhaust their claims should continue to certify each week. They will automatically be enrolled for the extended benefits.

For additional information about extended benefits, visit www.dol.state.ga.us, call toll-free at (866) 873-5676.

The extension of unemployment insurance benefits comes at a time when Georgia’s economy is being ravaged by a deteriorating job market. In each of the last three months, the state has experienced increasing job losses and 70-plus percent over-the-year increases in the number of initial unemployment insurance claims. The unemployment rate for October hit a 16-year high of 7.0 percent.

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