Metro

Legislation targets jobless aid abuse

Responding to complaints about public employees abusing the municipal unemployment benefit system, Governor Deval Patrick announced measures Wednesday that would stop police, school ­employees, and others from double dipping.

Patrick said he would file legislation to adopt recommendations of a task force that proposed changes officials said would restore integrity in the system.

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The legislation would ­reduce an employee’s unemployment benefits by 65 percent of their weekly pension for workers who have retired, but return to work part time with a cap on their potential earnings, but are then laid off. The change would eliminate ­unemployment benefits for ­retired workers earning a pension of $53,920 or more.

In addition, school employees such as bus drivers or substitute teachers would be ineligible for unemployment benefits during school vacations or the summer holiday if they have “reasonable assurance” of having a job when school reconvenes.

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Finally, election workers earning less than $1,000 a year would be ineligible for benefits, and the Department of Unemployment Assistance would be empowered to participate in a federal program allowing the agency to intercept federal tax returns for anyone who owes unemployment funds as a ­result of overpayment.

State House News Service

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