Archive for Wednesday, August 12, 2009

State’s unemployment trust fund running out of money

August 12, 2009

The state fund used to pay unemployment benefits is going broke, which will probably force Kansas to borrow from the federal government, it was announced Wednesday.

“Our first priority is to ensure unemployed Kansans receive the benefits that help them get through this difficult economic time as they return to work,” said Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Jim Garner.

“For that reason, we have begun communicating with the U.S. Department of Labor so that we are prepared to seek advances from the U.S. Treasury for our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund when necessary,” Garner said.

He said benefits for nearly 100,000 unemployed Kansans “are safe and will continue.”

Currently, 18 states are borrowing from the federal government to cover unemployment claims.

The Kansas labor department said projections indicate that the Kansas unemployment trust fund’s balance could be gone as early as November. The state’s unemployment rate is at 7 percent. The trust fund is funded by employers’ contributions through the unemployment insurance tax.

The trust fund started 2009 with a balance of $566 million. Monthly benefits have increased up to $78 million. The current balance is $349 million, which includes $69 million in federal stimulus funds.

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