Maximum Unemployment Benefit Rate Drops Oct. 1
Connecticut’s maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate drops slightly to $613 on Oct. 1.
State Labor Commissioner Scott D. Jackson announced the change Sept. 26. The new rate is $3 less than the current $616 maximum weekly benefit.
The change will not impact persons who filed a claim prior to Oct. 1 and are currently collecting unemployment benefits.
The weekly $15 allowance for each dependent with a maximum of $75 remains unchanged, Jackson said.
CBIA Counsel Eric Gjede said the change has minimal impact on employers, but means the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund may not be depleted as fast as it would under the current limits.
“However, it will do little to restore solvency to the unemployment trust fund,” Gjede said.
During the 2008-2010 recession, Connecticut employers saw their annual federal unemployment taxes jump to a massive $189 average per employee.
The state borrowed nearly $1 billion from the federal government to fund unemployment payments to the tens of thousands of workers who lost jobs, and employers had to pay it back through the higher tax.
The per-employee unemployment tax has since dropped dramatically, but the issue highlighted the need for reforms to restore solvency the fund.
CBIA supported a bill during the 2017 General Assembly session that helped achieve the state’s $1 billion solvency goal for the fund by 2020.
The measure was approved by the Labor and Public Employees Committee and the Appropriations Committee, but was not called in the state House before the session adjourned.
Jackson said the annual adjustment of the maximum weekly unemployment benefit is based on average manufacturing wages for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The average manufacturing wage for the 2016-17 fiscal year was $1,022.91 per week.
For the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2017, unemployment benefits averaged $364 per week with claimants getting an average of 17.3 weeks of compensation.
In the prior year, benefits averaged $340 for 17.2 weeks.
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