Senate votes to restore unemployment benefits

About 400,000 people in California whose extended unemployment benefits ended prematurely since federal funding ran out June 2 could resume getting checks within a few weeks.
The Senate passed a bill extending federal benefits Wednesday night. The House is expected to approve the bill in short order and President Obama could sign it as soon as today.
The bill extends benefits through Nov. 30 (after the midterm elections) and retroactively to June 2.
The bill also will modify a rule that sometimes causes a reduction in weekly benefits when unemployed people get part-time or temporary work, then return to unemployment. For those who understand it, this rule can be a disincentive to take work that might not pan out.
Because of the way federal extended benefits are structured, many people continued receiving them after funding expired June 2. But about 2.5 million nationwide, including 400,000 in California, have had their benefits lapse in the weeks since then. How and when they will be restored varies by state.
The California Employment Development Department has been keeping track of these people and will begin sending them biweekly claim forms seven to 10 days after the bill is signed. Each form will be mailed separately, in quick succession. After EDD receives completed forms and verifies them, it can begin mailing checks within a few days, says EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy.
People who were receiving Fed-Ed when federal funding ran out stopped receiving checks almost immediately. EDD advised these people to continue sending in claim forms, even though they couldn’t get benefits. If they did that, EDD can begin sending them checks within a few days after the bill is signed. If they did not, they will have to go through the same process as stated above.
By: Kathleen Pender – SF Chronicles