The unemployment extension legislation passed by Congress in February 2012 changed the way the tiers of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) are structured. Between now and December, the weeks included in each tier (Tiers 1 - 4) will change and there will be additional qualifying factors based on the state unemployment rates.
State unemployment benefits (up to 26 weeks depending on location) have not changed. The number of weeks of extended unemployment benefits in each tier will gradually drop providing unemployed workers with a maximum of 79 weeks of unemployment through August and up to 73 weeks through December, depending on location.
Here's information on extended unemployment tiers for 2012 including details on the weeks of unemployment benefits included in Tiers 1 - 4 (there is no Tier 5) of extended unemployment benefits, qualifying factors for tiers to be available, and the maximum number of weeks of unemployment that are available for unemployed workers between now and the end of 2012.