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COBRA Extension and Expansion
On April 15th, President Obama signed H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010
. Final passage in the House (289-112) and Senate (59-38) guaranteed several extensions to government programs, including Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health care insurance benefits and emergency unemployment benefits. The bill provides:
- An extension on the period that individuals may file applications for Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) from April 5, 2010 to June 2, 2010, and the period which individuals may claim and be paid EUC from September 4, 2010 to November 6, 2010.
- An extension on the period that individuals may qualify for the Federal Additional Compensation (FAC), (the extra $25 per weekly benefit amount on state and federal unemployment compensation) will be extended for the same weeks as the EUC extension.
- An extension of the period that the federal government will provide 100% reimbursement for weeks of regular federal extended benefit payments from April 5, 2010 to June 2, 2010, with the state option to continue the benefit extension period from September 4, 2010 to November 6, 2010.
- An extension on the eligibility for the COBRA health insurance 65% subsidy for people who have lost their jobs through May 31, 2010. The bill also provides transition relief for individuals who lost their jobs between March 31, 2010, and the date of enactment.
EUC and FAC payments will be paid for from general revenue, and regular employment benefits will be draw from the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Account that is funded with FUTA taxes paid by employers.
At this time, it is unclear if Congress will consider a longer extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits. The current legislative proposal, H.R. 4213
, would extend benefits through the end of 2010.