Despite the continued high unemployment rate, unless another unemployment extension is passed for 2013 anyone who files for unemployment starting in July 2012 will not be eligible for anything more than state unemployment benefits, which are a maximum of 26 weeks depending on location.
The National Employment Law Project reports that "With all federal unemployment insurance programs scheduled to expire by year's end, more than 900,000 Americans will exhaust their state benefits during the first three months of 2013 and will be left without any jobless aid afterwards. In addition, more than two million Americans already receiving federal extended unemployment insurance will face immediate cut-off from the program in the week between Christmas and New Year's."
What seems to have fallen under the radar with extended benefits when Congress passed the unemployment extension for 2012 is the fact that unemployment is not only being cut back throughout this year, but will end entirely in 2013 without new legislation.
The unemployment extension for long-term unemployed workers is being gradually reduced to 73 weeks in the states with the highest rates of unemployment and 63 weeks in other states. Plus, there are also changes in the number of weeks included in each tier of unemployment starting in September and the state unemployment rate must be at a certain level for the tiers to kick in.
Because unemployment compensation varies from state to state, it's important to check with your state unemployment office to determine what benefits you are eligible for and how that eligibility may change for the remainder of 2012 and for 2013. Some states have calculators you can use to get updated personal information, while others have worksheets with more general information.