Jobless benefits extended |

Jobless benefits extended

Congress has given final approval to legislation extending unemployment benefits another 20 weeks in states with more than 8.5 percent of workers jobless.

That includes Nevada which, at 13.5 percent, has the nation’s second highest unemployment rate.

Mae Worthey, spokesman for the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, said there are just over 11,000 Nevadans who have exhausted all of their existing unemployment eligibility, nearly all of whom will qualify for the extension once President Barack Obama signs it into law.

The legislation raises the total amount of time a jobless worker can collect benefits from 79 to 99 weeks.

For states with lower unemployment rates, the extension adds another 14 weeks to eligibility.

Just under 200,000 of the state’s 1.4 million in the workforce are jobless.

Worthey said all those who have exhausted their benefits will get letters saying they can apply to qualify for the new extension. She said they can also check the department’s website for updates, but urged people not to call.

In Nevada, the maximum benefit is $400 a week.

The legislation was approved by overwhelming margins in both the House (403-12) and Senate (98-0).