April 24, 2009: A part of the federal stimulus package that pays 65% of a laid-off worker’s health coverage cost can benefit thousands of laid-off Teamsters.
The new provision went into effect on February 17, 2009, when President Obama signed the stimulus package. Teamsters on layoff, or who have involuntarily lost their jobs (other than through gross misconduct) are eligible to have 65% of their health and welfare payments waived.
For those covered by Teamster H&W plans, the plan will reduce your weekly or monthly premiums by 65%, and the plan will be reimbursed by the federal government. The same applies for Teamsters who have employer-provided health care coverage.
The coverage applies to anyone who becomes laid off or out of work before the end of 2009, and extends for nine months of benefits. Benefits can be intermittent, if you are temporarily recalled to work.
This benefit is available to anyone who is involuntarily laid off and who loses health care coverage between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. The benefit is not retroactive, but begins on the first COBRA period after the law became effective, which for most Teamsters may be March 1, 2009.
Many laid-off Teamsters are struggling to get one to three days per week of on-call work to pay for their health and welfare benefits. Now, some may be able to take a full lay-off and at least maintain health benefits for their families.
For details about how this benefit could affect you, contact your health and welfare plan.
For background and FAQs on the new benefit, see information here from the Central States Health & Welfare Fund.