By Matt Murphy, State House News Service

(State House News Service) — With the state’s unemployment rate still hovering close to 10 percent, Gov. Charlie Baker made quick work Monday of new legislation that will allow thousands of workers to collect $1,800 in additional unemployment benefits, signing the bill just hours after it landed on his desk.

The House and Senate on Monday pushed through a bill (S 2934) to qualify as many as 17,000 people who were previously ineligible for $300 in enhanced weekly federal benefits under the Lost Wages Assistance Program.

The federal program ran for six weeks from the end of July through the first week in September, but in order to qualify for the additional benefits a claimant had to be receiving at least $100 in weekly state benefits.

The bill filed by Sen. Patricia Jehlen, of Somerville, and signed by Baker on Monday afternoon increases the minimum benefit for any unemployment insurance beneficiary to $100 for the week ending Aug. 1 through the week ending Sept. 5, enabling those affected to retroactively collect the enhanced weekly federal benefit.

“This is thirty-one million dollars that people in Massachusetts can use for rent, for food, for other necessities. It will benefit them and local businesses. We can be absolutely sure they will spend it locally and immediately,” Jehlen said Monday.

The state unemployment rate dipped to 9.6 percent in September but 365,400 people remained unemployed in the state. In the week ending Oct. 10, 39,038 people filed claims for traditional unemployment benefits and another 11,478 filed claims under the expanded eligibility Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

(© Copyright 2020 State House News Service)

Learn more about applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.

  1. Lady Penelope says:

    Sickening. Like Gov Cuomo said, just apply to be an essential worker. He said, “of course they are hiring, and now you will be an essential worker and you won’t kill anyone”. These people should not receive a dime in unemployment benefits—they have received enough, more than enough. All you have to do is open the state up 100%, screw those that get sick, and the coronoooo-virus will go away because there will be no one to infect, and the media will cry-baby it to the bank, like they are doing right now.

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