The U.S. Department of Labor is distributing a $1.4 million National Emergency Grant increment to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet's Department for Workforce Investment in order to provide partial premium payments for health insurance coverage for eligible unemployed workers.
"A job search is stressful enough without worrying about a lapse in health insurance coverage," says Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The additional federal funds announced today will provide continued assistance to dislocated workers, so they won't be without health insurance while they search for new jobs."
With this grant increment, Kentucky is to provide two to three months of "gap filler" payments for unemployed workers receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits. These unemployed workers must be eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit program in which they can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs. These payments take care of the necessary time to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the HCTC program.
Initially, a National Emergency Grant was given to Kentucky Oct. 22, 2009, for up to $6 million. The DOL first released $3.6 million, and this most recent increment of $1.4 million brings the total amount to $5 million. Funding up to $6 million will be made available as Kentucky shows a need for further assistance.
National Emergency Grants are included the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and distributed based on a state's ability to meet certain guidelines.