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Unemployment stimulus dollars (new law)

Published (4/10/2009)
By Nick Busse
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A new law will let Minnesota use $130 million from the federal stimulus package for state unemployment benefits.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) and Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), the law makes mostly technical changes to the state’s unemployment insurance statutes. The modifications are necessary for Minnesota to receive the federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Signed April 8 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, most of the law takes effect Aug. 2, 2009. A provision authorizing the expenditure of federal funds is effective April 9, 2009.

In addition to the technical changes, which will put the state’s unemployment insurance program in conformity with federal law, the law modifies eligibility requirements and other parts of the program. Some of these changes include:

• granting eligibility to workers who are forced to quit their jobs due to situations involving domestic abuse of themselves or family members;

• granting eligibility to workers who quit their jobs to care for an immediate family member;

• allowing a worker who quits their job to relocate with a spouse whose job has been moved to be eligible for benefits, if the commute to work from the new location is impractical; and

• calculating an applicant’s unemployment benefits using more recent wages than are currently used.


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