MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state panel recommended Thursday that Wisconsin lawmakers tweak state law to allow jobless people to collect an additional three months of federal unemployment benefits, ending a months-long stalemate over whether the benefits would encourage unemployment.

Extended federal unemployment benefits are designed to serve as a last-ditch safety net for an unemployed person who has exhausted all other state and federal benefits. Wisconsin's unemployed qualified for the extended benefits until April, when the state's unemployment rate improved enough that state residents no longer qualified.

The Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, which guides legislators on unemployment benefits policy, voted 9-0 to soften the qualifying language. The move calls for taking the average of the past three years' unemployment rates rather than the past two, capturing the spike in unemployment when the recession began. The end result would be a higher average unemployment rate, enabling the state to collect about $90 million in federal dollars allocated through the 2009 stimulus bill.

The move would translate to $363 per week for a jobless person. Up to 11,000 people were eligible for the benefits when they ended in April, according to state labor officials.

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