Press Release from Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, March 4, 2010:
14,000 Tennesseans Will Maintain Benefits As State Unemployment Remains At 10.7 Percent
NASHVILLE – The U.S. Senate’s decision Tuesday to pass a measure to maintain unemployment benefits will benefit about 14,000 Tennesseans expected to lose their benefits without the month-long extension, said State Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville).
“Thousands of Tennessee families are suffering through an extended period of unemployment, and extending these benefits is critical during our continued recession,” Sen. Henry said.
Tennessee’s January unemployment rate was 10.7 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent.
The U.S. Senate had been expected to extend the benefits last week until Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky opposed the measure, saying Congress would have to prove the extension wouldn’t add to the federal deficit. Bunning conceded Tuesday; he was pointing out the enormous federal debt.
Eligible claimants will not have to apply for an extension, and will automatically continue to receive their benefits. The deadline to apply for an additional $25 per week in stimulus funds was also extended until March 30.
“This is very good news for a great number of claimants who were approaching the end of their benefit period,” said Labor Commissioner James Neeley. “These individuals should know they’ll continue to receive their weekly checks without a break, and they won’t have to apply for anything to continue receiving benefits.”
Sen. Henry has been a champion of Tennessee families throughout his service in the state Senate. Earlier this session Sen. Henry led the passage of an expansion of heating assistance for low-income families, helping them provide for their children without having to worry how to pay heating bills.
“Tennessee families need our help in this time of need, and lawmakers around the State and across the country must answer the call,” Henry said.