WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17) today announced new federal resources that will help laid-off RG Steel workers purchase health care coverage. The $1.2 million grant, awarded to WorkForce West Virginia, will also benefit Ohio workers thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between West Virginia and Ohio.
“The loss of a job can be a devastating experience. The Health Coverage Tax Credit will ensure that displaced RG Steel workers continue to purchase affordable health insurance,” Brown said. “Ohioans who work hard and play by the rules should not be left to struggle when they lose their job through no fault of their own. These new resources will help ensure that displaced workers from RG Steel can access the vital benefits they have earned and are now entitled to.”
“In these difficult economic times, I’m committed to doing as much as I can to help working men and women. The Health Tax Credit for RG Steel employees will help ease the difficulty of losing their jobs, and give them the opportunity to use the health benefits they deserve,” said Rep. Ryan. “Access to affordable health care is imperative as these laid-off employees deal with the consequences of a situation they did nothing to create. I’m pleased we were able to work with successfully with state and federal officials to ensure these laid-off workers were given the assistance they needed. And we need to make sure that these programs are in place for families who may need this assistance in the future.”
The supplement will provide two to three months of “gap filler” payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Under the program, eligible individuals can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs. These payments cover the period of time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the HCTC program.
RG Steel filed for bankruptcy on May 31st. Earlier this year, Brown joined Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to send letters to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman asking them to ensure that eligible RG Steel employees and retirees receive TAA and the HCTC. Click here to view the letter the senators sent to Secretary Solis, and click here to view the letter the senators sent to IRS Commissioner Shulman on June 7.