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NY jobless benefits bill signed into law

Sen. Joseph E. Robach. (2009)

Sen. Joseph E. Robach. (2009) Credit: Handout, 2009

Federally funded unemployment insurance will be extended through this year in a bill signed today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The extension would have expired early this spring, giving people who lose their jobs up to 80 weeks of unemployment checks instead of up to 93 for people now on the unemployment rolls, lawmakers said.

Congress last year approved extending unemployment insurance. New York State would have lost $620 million in such federal aid if it hadn’t passed a law to qualify for the aid, hurting about 166,000 New Yorkers, Cuomo’s office said.

"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," the governor said in a news release.

Upstate Sen. Joseph E. Robach, above left, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee and bill sponsor, 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.”

Harlem Democrat Keith Wright, chairman of the Assembly Labor Committee and bill sponsor, said the extension will help as people search for “all-too-elusive jobs”:

“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.”

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