The Washington Employment Security Department is reminding those who are collecting federal "temporary extended unemployment compensation" (TEUC) benefits that their payments will end in early April.
"In the absence of a decision by Congress to extend benefits to unemployed workers, no additional general extensions will be available to Washington workers," explained Sylvia P. Mundy, the state's employment security commissioner.
TEUC funds have been available to Washington residents since March 2002. The legislation approved by Congress and the president provided up to 26 weeks of additional federally-funded benefits to claimants whose regular state unemployment benefits ran out.
The legislation expired in late December 2003, and the state has not accepted new applications since then. However, the law provided a "phase-out" period for individuals who have not used all their benefits. The week of March 28-April 3 is the last week that can be claimed under the extension.
Individuals claiming TEUC benefits will be notified of these changes by mail.
The April deadline does not affect approximately 2,800 claimants receiving payments through a similar program called TEUC-A. This program, created last year as an amendment to the initial TEUC legislation, provides up to 52 weeks of additional benefits to certain workers in airline-related industries who lost jobs as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or the war in Iraq.
TEUC-A legislation also has expired, and no new applications are being accepted. But claimants who have not yet exhausted their TEUC-A payments can continue to receive the assistance until the phase-out period ends on Jan. 1, 2005.
Since the TEUC benefits were made available, more than 202,000 unemployed workers received payments totaling a combined $1.1 billion. In addition, 11,800 people received TEUC-A money totaling $107 million.
According to the Washington Employment Security Department, approximately 1,775 individuals exhaust their regular state unemployment benefits every week.