The Labor Department announced Tuesday that it has certified for release $29,270,446 in unemployment insurance (UI) modernization incentive funds to the state of Connecticut.

According to the department, Connecticut qualified for the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by allowing workers to use their more recent earnings to qualify for benefits.

The Connecticut Department of Labor can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

By helping workers who have entered the workforce recently, Connecticut's UI program better meets the needs of the 21st century labor force, said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Especially now, when jobs are harder to find, it is essential that those out of work through no fault of their own receive the benefits they deserve.

Unemployment insurance serves as a lifeline to the residents in our state who have lost their jobs as a result of the current national economic downturn, added Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell.

Connecticut's commitment to help these families is unwavering and comprehensive, and the stimulus funding is an important part of our overall network of support programs.

The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs.

Each state can qualify for a share of those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions.

To date, Connecticut, New Jersey and South Dakota each have been certified by the Labor Department to receive a share of the funds.

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