Grant to help with jobless workers health insurance premiums - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Grant to help with jobless workers health insurance premiums

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of a $1,058,254 National Emergency Grant supplement to provide qualified jobless workers with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage and to expand the number of states and people served.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said, "It is difficult enough to find new employment, let alone do so without health insurance for you or your family. This funding will help eligible workers avoid that prospect by helping them pay for health insurance while they seek new jobs."

The supplement, awarded to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, will be administered in partnership with Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. The funds will allow the provision of two to three months of "gap filler" payments for unemployed individuals in those states who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Under the program, eligible individuals can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs. These payments cover the period of time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payment under the HCTC program.

A National Emergency Grant in the amount of $2,422,473 was awarded to the state of Maryland on Nov. 30, 2009, to serve about 1,890 participants in Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi and South Carolina who were eligible to enroll in the HCTC program. Today's supplemental award of $1,058,254 brings the total funding awarded for this project to $3,480,727, and will bring the total number of people to be served under this grant to about 2,340.

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG

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