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Unemployment benefits extended to 20 weeks

Unemployment benefits in Minnesota are now extended to 20 weeks under the recently amended federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) law.

In June, EUC was passed to provide 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. Now, some workers will be eligible for 20 weeks.

Additional weeks may be provided due to the recent rise in Minnesota's unemployment rate.

Workers may be eligible for up to 33 weeks of benefits.

According to the law, effective Nov. 23, applicants in states with average unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher are eligible for up to 13 weeks of "second tier" benefits.

Since Minnesota's average unemployment rate is at 6 percent, applicants may be eligible for the 20 weeks plus the 13 weeks of second tier benefits.

"These additional benefits will help thousands of hard-working Minnesotans support their families while they work to find their next job," said Dan McElroy, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner. Under the extended EUC program, the first week payable was Nov. 23; benefits for that week may be requested this week. The EUC program expires on Aug. 29, 2009.

Unemployed workers are eligible to receive the same weekly benefit amount they received during their most recent unemployment benefit account.

DEED will mail information to about 27,000 potentially eligible individuals within the next two weeks.

Individuals may apply for this federal extension online or by phone. For more information, visit, or call 1-877-898-9090.