The Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday new maximum weekly benefit amounts for the two biggest income support programs it runs for Rhode Island workers and employers – Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI).
Beginning July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly benefit rate for Unemployment Insurance will increase to $576 per beneficiary and $720 for beneficiaries with a maximum five dependents. This is the first increase to the UI maximum weekly benefit rate in seven years.
The maximum weekly benefit rate for Temporary Disability Insurance will increase to $852 per beneficiary and $1,150 for beneficiaries with a maximum of five dependents.
DLT is responsible for calculating the benefit rates for UI and TDI every June, before the start of the new benefit year.
The Labor Market Information (LMI) division of DLT calculates UI and TDI benefit amounts using the average weekly wage in covered employment for the previous calendar year.
Average Monthly Covered Employment: 466,448
Total Wages in Covered Employment: $24,308,616,009
Average Annual Wage: $52,114
Average Weekly Wage: $1,002.20
Legislation passed in 2011 set the maximum weekly benefit rate at the greater of 57.5 percent of the average weekly wage for covered employment, or $566. Since 57.5 percent of the 2017 average weekly wage for covered employment is greater than $566, the maximum weekly benefit rate for UI will increase.
For UI Maximum
57.5% of the Average Weekly Wage: $576.27
Rounded to nearest dollar: $576
Increased by 25 percent for 5 dependents: $720
The maximum weekly benefit for TDI is set at 85 percent of the average weekly wage, as follows:
For TDI Maximum
85 Percent of the Average Weekly Wage: $851.87
Rounded to nearest dollar: $852
Increased by 35 percent for 5 dependents: $1,150.20
UI provides temporary income support to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who have sufficient wages to meet the monetary requirements. It is funded entirely from state and federal UI taxes paid by RI employers. Last year, 34,000 employers supported UI and DLT handled more than 59,000 customer-service claims, disbursing more than $152 million in benefits.
TDI protects workers against wage loss due to a non-work related illness or injury, and through Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI), provides up to four weeks to bond with a new child or to care for a seriously ill family member. Workers pay for TDI through a payroll tax. About 425,000 RI workers paid TDI taxes in 2017, when DLT handled more than 49,000 claims and paid out more than $184 million in TDI and TCI benefits.
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