What Minnesota Unemployment Compensation extensions are available?
Many Minnesota employees within the iron mining industry have lost their jobs due to the decline in the American steel industry. With China producing an abundance of steel and saturating the domestic market, steel prices dropped significantly – resulting in the closure of many U.S. steel plants and subsequent mills. This downturn in the domestic steel industry is similar to the steel crisis in the 1970s. Closures of mills have left thousands of miners and employees in corresponding industries out of work. With lack of suitable employment available for iron miners, qualified unemployment applicants are still out of work. Those at the end of their regular unemployment insurance may be wondering, “What can I do to extend unemployment payments?”
The only Minnesota unemployment benefits extension currently available for unemployed claims applicants is the Iron Range benefit extension. Governor Mark Dayton signed an unemployment compensation extension on March 24, 2016 that provided an additional 26 weeks of benefit payments to those affected by the steel crisis. This exclusive unemployment extension in Minnesota is available to former workers in the iron mining industry including workers of employers that provided goods and services to iron mining businesses. Qualified unemployment applicants in or connected to the iron mining industry that have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits are eligible for this unemployment extension.
Since employment opportunities in iron mining are increasingly scarce, many unemployment claim applicants have relocated or opted for federally-funded job training programs. These programs are similar to an MN unemployment extension as they are part of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA). TRA continue to provide payments to qualified unemployment applicants who have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance. A condition for this federal unemployment extension in MN is unemployment claimants must have lost their job due to foreign imports.
The training-related unemployment benefits extension provides qualified unemployment applicants with:
• Paid training for new job opportunities.
• Monetary allowances for work search in other locations.
• Financial assistance for relocation to areas with more jobs.
How to Get an Unemployment Extension in Minnesota
To be eligible for an MN unemployment compensation extension, you must fulfill all the qualifications of the specific unemployment extension. Both the iron range unemployment benefits extension and TRA require unemployment claims applicants to be affected workers of the domestic steel crisis – iron miners and former employees of businesses that provided goods and services to the mining industry. Qualified unemployment applicants must have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance to qualify for either unemployment extension in MN.
Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) contacts qualified iron mineworkers who are not receiving TRA after they deplete their regular unemployment insurance claim. Unemployed workers whose former employer provided goods or services to an iron mining business must contact DEED by phone for an unemployment compensation extension. These employees will complete a questionnaire pertaining to their employer to determine eligibility. After DEED contacts the former employer, they mail a determination letter explaining your eligibility. Qualified unemployment applicants will complete an application for a MN unemployment benefits extension.
Past Federal Unemployment Extensions in Minnesota
During high rates of unemployment, Extended Benefits (EB) are activated in Minnesota. This federal unemployment extension allows qualified unemployment applicants to receive extra weeks of compensation payments. When the state’s unemployment rate is low or manageable, this unemployment benefits extension is not available.
Just before the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, the federal government established the temporary federal unemployment extension, known as the Emergency Unemployment Compensation 2008 (EUC08). The 100-percent federally funded unemployment extension combated the effects of unemployment by providing an unemployment compensation extension to qualified unemployment claimants who had exhausted their regular benefit claim.
The four-tier federal unemployment extension system added up to 53 additional weeks of benefits as follows:
• Tier 1 of the federal unemployment extensions was available in every state and extended benefits up to 20 weeks, regardless of current or past total unemployment rate.
• Tier 2 extended benefits up to 14 weeks in states with a total unemployment rate of at least six percent in the most recent three consecutive months.
• Tier 3 extended benefits up to nine weeks in states with a total unemployment rate of at least seven percent in the most recent three consecutive months.
• Tier 4 extended benefits up to 10 weeks in states with a total unemployment rate of at least nine percent in the most recent three consecutive months.
This federal unemployment extension ended in December 2013 when the national unemployment rate reduced to 6.7 percent. There is currently no active federal unemployment extension in Minnesota.