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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 30: Total benefits for year; industrial or vocational retraining; solvency account charge; trade readjustment allowance; employer's lockout

Section 30. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the total benefits which an unemployed individual may receive during his benefit year shall be an amount equal to thirty-six percent of his wages in the base period, or an amount equal to thirty times his benefit rate, whichever is less, plus dependency benefits payable under section 29; provided, however, that if in any month the average local unemployment for the last 12 months, as determined by the United States Department of Labor is equal to or below 5.1 per cent in each of the 10 metropolitan statistical areas of the commonwealth, the total benefits which an unemployed individual who then files a claim may receive during his benefit year shall be an amount equal to 36 per cent of his wages in the base period or an amount equal to 26 times his benefit rate, whichever is less, plus dependency benefits payable under said section 29; provided further that no such reduction in benefit rate from 30 times to 26 times the benefit rate due to the operation of this section shall occur to an individual's total benefit amount if, in any month during the individual's benefit year, the requirements of this section have not been met. If such amount includes a fractional part of a dollar, it shall be rounded to the next lower full dollar amount.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), an individual's rights to receive regular benefits under this chapter for any week in excess of twenty-six times the individual's weekly benefit amount, plus dependency benefits payable under section twenty-nine, shall cease for the remainder of the benefit year if such week of unemployment falls in an extended benefit period as defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section thirty A, or as defined in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991, or any other federal extended unemployment compensation act, as applicable.

(c) If in the opinion of the commissioner, it is necessary for an unemployed individual to obtain further industrial or vocational training to realize appropriate employment, the total benefits which such individual may receive shall be extended by up to 26 times the individual's benefit rate, if such individual is attending an industrial or vocational retraining course approved by the commissioner; provided, that such additional benefits shall be paid to the individual only when attending such course and only if such individual has exhausted all rights to regular and extended benefits under this chapter and has no rights to benefits or compensation under this chapter or any other state unemployment compensation law or under any federal law; provided, further, that such extension shall be available only to individuals who have applied to the commissioner for training no later than the twentieth week of a new or continued claim but the commissioner shall specify by regulation the circumstances in which the 20–week application period shall be tolled and the circumstances under which the application deadline may be waived for good cause; provided, however, that such circumstances shall include an individual's need to address the physical, psychological and legal effects of domestic violence, as well as any period in which economic circumstances permit the provision of extended benefits or any other emergency benefits funded in whole or in part by the federal government; provided, further, that the claimant shall begin training in the first available program which is a reasonable distance from the claimant's residence, as determined by the commissioner; provided, further, that the commissioner, in his discretion, may extend the period once for not more than two weeks for any applicant whose initial application is denied; provided further, that, if the claim for regular benefits was denied and the reversal of said denial did not occur until after the thirty-first week of the claimant's benefit year, the claimant shall not be barred from applying for and commencing training, even if the benefit year has expired, so long as the claimant applies for training within 21 weeks of the notice of reversal and commences training with the first available program; and provided, further, that any benefits paid to an individual under the provisions of this paragraph which would not be chargeable to the account of any particular employer under the provisions of section fourteen shall be charged to the solvency account. An individual eligible to receive a trade readjustment allowance under Chapter 2 of Title II of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, shall not be eligible to receive additional benefits under this section for each week the individual receives such trade readjustment allowance. An individual eligible to receive emergency unemployment compensation, so-called, under any federal law, shall not be eligible to receive additional benefits under this section for each week the individual receives such compensation.

The department shall provide each claimant with written information regarding eligibility for benefits under this section in the claimant's primary language, as required under section 62A, including a notification that a claimant shall submit any application for benefits under this section no later than the twentieth week of a new or continued claim unless the period is tolled by regulation or waived for good cause.

(d) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the total benefits of an individual eligible to receive benefits due to an employer's lockout, pursuant to subsection (b) of section 25, shall be extended beyond the benefit amount authorized in subsection (a) for an additional 26 times the individual's benefit rate, or until the lockout is concluded, whichever is shorter; provided, however, that the additional benefits shall be paid to the individual only if that individual has exhausted all rights to regular and extended benefits under this chapter and has no rights to benefits or compensation under this chapter or any other state unemployment compensation law or under federal law; and provided further, that any benefit paid to an individual under this subsection shall be charged in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of section 14.