Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Extend Federally-Funded Unemployment Insurance Benefits Through 2011

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has signed into law a measure extending federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits through 2011. Without this new law, the state would not be able to continue to pay a total of 93 weeks of benefits and would have forfeited $620 million in federal payments to the unemployed, negatively impacting approximately 166,000 New Yorkers.

"This measure will ensure out-of-work New Yorkers will continue to have a federally-funded safety net to help them weather this prolonged economic downturn," Governor Cuomo said. "Re-entering the workforce can be daunting and time consuming. This law provides basic relief for the thousands of job-hunters across the state."

Senator Joseph E. Robach, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee and sponsor of the Governor's bill, said, "I am glad that quick legislative action has allowed us to access federal funds to assist those on unemployment during these challenging economic times. Hopefully, the economy will improve with more private-sector jobs and relief for all."

Assemblyman Keith Wright, Chair of the Assembly Labor Committee and sponsor of the Governor's bill, said, "At a time when far too many New York residents are still struggling to emerge from the 'Great Recession,' many families are still reliant upon unemployment insurance to get them through these difficult times. This legislation makes much needed changes ensuring that thousands of New York families get the assistance they need while they continue to search for all-too-elusive jobs in this economy."

Since 2009, New York State has participated in a two-year federally-funded unemployment insurance program. In December 2010, the United States Congress extended the federal program by an additional year. The Governor's legislation amends New York State law to allow the state to qualify for the additional third year of the program.

The extended unemployment insurance program will continue throughout 2011. Under the program, benefits for all private sector and non-profit employees are fully federally-funded.