Payments from the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will come to an end nationwide – including in the U.S. Virgin Islands – on Dec. 29, according to the V.I. Labor Department.
The EUC is a temporary federal program that provides additional unemployment benefits to claimants who qualify. Claimants who remain unemployed when they exhaust regular unemployment compensation may be eligible for EUC.
“The end date of the program will mean that no new EUC claims can be filed and payments will end for all claimants currently enrolled in EUC for any weeks after this date,” Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan said in Monday's statement from the department.
“This means unemployment insurance claimants must exhaust their regular unemployment benefits on or before Dec. 22, 2012, and file a EUC claim effective Dec. 23rd, 2012, or earlier and can only receive benefits through the week ending Dec. 29, 2012.”
Those currently enrolled in EUC will continue to receive benefits, and can move on to the next tier only if the tier is triggered on and if they qualify, until the Dec. 29 program end date.
"This is indeed a trying time for the territory and the end of the EUC program would only add to the burden," Bryan said. “However, we have to look forward and prepare ourselves for the new economy.”
Bryan said a lot was happening with training funds provided by the National Emergency Grant and the broadband project, and that “the potential for renewable energy development is just the beginning.”
“Job hunting is tough," Bryan said, “but we are exploring every option for putting Virgin Islanders back to work.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, National Emergency Grants provide funding in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. The money temporarily expands Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels.
Dislocated Hovensa employees will only be eligible to receive the one-time 26-week unemployment benefit allotment. However, all Hovensa workers dislocated on Feb. 20, 2012, or later are asked to contact the Labor Department's NEG representative about available training and services.
Under the new legislation there is an increased effort on work search and re-employment services, the statement said, and those currently reenrolled in the EUC program will receive notification of this change from the department. Check the department’s website at www.vidol.gov for continuous updates and information.