The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Fridday announced that the state will continue to provide additional unemployment benefits to eligible claimants with dependent children through Dec. 31.
The department announced its intention to end the benefits based on state legislation that was passed earlier this year as a result of one-time federal funding that was no longer available. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) State Conformity and Compliance team previously gave the state guidance that ending the additional dependent benefits would not affect other funds but now says that ending the additional benefits would risk the loss of funds paying for extended federal benefits called Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). Continuing the additional benefit for approximately 12,000 claimants keeps another 22,000 Tennesseans from immediately losing their federal unemployment benefits.
“This is part of the balancing act with federal funding, and our department’s focus continues to be efficiently and effectively serving Tennesseans who need temporary unemployment assistance,” Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips said. “It is critical that the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is sustainable. Often there are conditions regarding how federal funding may be used, and in this situation we had to balance the potential savings to the trust fund with the total impact of those receiving federal unemployment benefits.”
In 2009, Tennessee received one-time federal funds in the amount of $141,808,031 as an incentive grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to strengthen the rapidly depleting Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. As a result, beginning in 2010, eligible unemployment insurance claimants supporting minor children began receiving an additional allowance to their weekly unemployment benefit amount.
At the end of December 2013, the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is set to expire, and the additional dependent benefits are expected to end.