Clients receiving federal Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will soon see a reduction in their weekly benefits. EUC is a federally-funded benefit for long-term unemployed workers who have exhausted regular un-employment (UI) benefits, according to a press release issued on Wednesday by the V.I. Department of Labor.
The Virgin Islands Department of Labor was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor to implement a 10.7 percent reduction in EUC benefits, effective March 31. Individuals who receive benefits after 26 weeks will see a difference in their weekly allotments. There are currently over 1,600 individuals receiving extended benefits. Individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits will not be affected. The department will notify all EUC claimants during the month of March providing a revised benefit amount.
Concurrently, the V.I. will trigger off of Tiers 2 and 3 on March 30. This trigger off is based on the guidelines established for duration in which a state can use extended benefits. Over the last 13-week period, the VI has seen a decrease in initial claims and the Virgin Islands fell below the trigger threshold rate to remain “on” Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the EUCO8 program.
The week ending March 30 will be the last week in which EUCO8 claimants in the territory can exhaust Tier 1 and establish Tier 2 eligibility. Under the phase-out provisions, claimants may receive any remaining entitlement they have in Tier 2 and Tier 3 after March 30. Currently, there are over 700 Virgin Islanders on Tiers 2 and 3, combined. The V.I. is currently offering benefits up to Tier 1.
“These changes will affect each claimant differently, and the staff at the VIDOL will be notifying its claimants and keeping them informed. As these additional benefit reductions take effect, unemployed residents will continue to receive re-employment and workforce development services to prepare them for returning to work and potentially better job opportunities. The department still has the training funds available and encourages customers to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr. The department encourages job seekers to visit www.vidol.gov and utilize the new VIeWS job search platform to search for available jobs, create resumes, access educational services and view labor market information.
The department will host an EUC forum and extended office hours at the St. Thomas and St. Croix locations from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, for all EUC recipients who may need to speak to a representative. Additional sessions will be scheduled, based upon need, and the public will be notified accordingly.
If there are any questions regarding this information, contact Carmeisia Straker on St. Croix at 773-1994 ext. 2159 or Georgen Hodge on St. Thomas at 776-3700 ext. 2008.