Extended UI Benefits
Currently, there are two programs that allow workers to receive extended benefit payments after running out of their regular state benefits. Both of these programs are, at this time, 100% funded with federal money. These programs are Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB).
Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is a temporary program that was initiated in mid-2008 and extended by the Recovery Act in February 2009. EUC paid for an additional 20 weeks of benefits for workers in all states (known as Tier I benefits), and for workers in “high unemployment states,” paid an additional 13 weeks (Tier II).
In November 2009, the EUC program was expanded through The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 (Worker Assistance Act). Under this extension, the EUC program pays for an additional 14 weeks of benefits for workers in all states, and for workers in "high unemployment states," pays an additional 6 weeks on top of this initial 14 weeks (bringing the total to 20 weeks for workers in these states). The Worker Assistance Act expands EUC08 in the following ways. As of December 19, 2009, the entire EUC program was extended until February 28, 2010.
- 20 weeks of benefits available to all workers
- The same as the previous Tier I (prior to the November extension)
- 14 weeks of benefits available to all workers
- Increases the weeks in the previous Tier II from 13 to 14 weeks of benefits in all states and is no longer tied to the state reaching a specified level of unemployment
- 13 additional weeks of benefits in states with an insured unemployment rate of at least 4 percent or a total unemployment rate of at least 6 percent
- This is the previous Tier II (prior to the November extension)
- 6 additional weeks of benefits in states with an insured unemployment rate of at least 6 percent or a total unemployment rate of at least 8.5 percent
For more information via NELP:
- EUC Know Your Rights Fact Sheet
- ARRA Guide for Jobless Workers
- November 2009 (HR3548) Extension Fact Sheet
- December 2009 ARRA Reauthorization Fact Sheet
The Extended Benefits (EB) program provides an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits to workers receiving unemployment insurance in states that meet certain thresholds in terms of their unemployment rates. The Recovery Act recently made these benefits completely federally funded for 2009 (usually, the cost is split 50-50 between states and the federal government), and changed EB eligibility rules so that states can now pay EB benefits to workers who don't find jobs before the end of their EUC benefits.
Any state can "trigger on" to Extended Benefits when the level of unemployed workers covered by unemployment insurance reaches a certain level (those receiving UI must equal 5 percent or higher of all those employed). However, this is a high threshold that many states don't meet. Alternatively, a state may trigger on by its regular unemployment rates: it can provide 13 weeks of Extended Benefits when the average unemployment rate over the past three months is 6.5 percent or higher, and 20 weeks when the average unemployment rate is 8.0 percent or higher. Many states currently meet one of these two optional thresholds, but a state must have it written into their law that they will pay Extended Benefits based on its unemployment rate (known as the Total Unemployment Rate, or TUR). Unfortunately, many states do not have this law in place, yet require only a small, temporary change in order to provide Extended Benefits.
For more information on Extended Benefits, see click here for NELP's EB Q&A. NELP"s ARRA Guide for Jobless Workers also has more information on EB; please click here for the guide. Click here to take action on Extended Benefits in your state.