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The Associated Press November 29, 2011, 4:53PM ET

Texas extends long-term unemployment benefits

The state employment agency has announced a six-week extension of unemployment benefits for jobless Texans who have exhausted their claims.

The Texas Workforce Commission said Tuesday the extension is a result of the unemployment rate reaching 8.5 percent or higher over the previous three months.

The commission said the U.S. Department of Labor approved the processing of claims starting Dec. 11. The agency said the extension isn't retroactive.

Letters will be mailed to about 220,000 potential claimants who have used all their benefits and might be eligible for an extension. The agency says the extension means jobless Texans can now claim up to 99 weeks of benefits.

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