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 fifteenth week of a new or continued claim but the commissioner shall specify by regulation the circumstances in which the 15 week application period shall be tolled; 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; 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, and notify claimants that any application for benefits under this section must be submitted no later than the fifteenth week of a new or continued claim unless the period is tolled by regulation.