RI to end program for long-term unemployed

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Rhode Island is paring back the number of weeks the long-term unemployed may collect benefits.

The state Department of Labor and Training says Rhode Island no longer qualifies for the “state extended benefits” unemployment program because of its most recent jobless data. The maximum number of weeks to receive benefits is falling from 99 to 79.

Payment of the benefits will stop the week ending July 7. The federal government paid about $2.8 million to the 1,800 Rhode Islanders in the program in May.

Officials note the change doesn’t affect regular unemployment insurance, which provides for 26 weeks of benefits, or the federal emergency unemployment compensation program, which provides for up to 53 weeks.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate of 11 percent is the second highest in the U.S.

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