I am getting frantic emails and comments on my blog posts from people who are running out of unemployment benefits and aren't sure why. The reason is that what is provided for unemployed workers changed dramatically in January.
Federal extended unemployment benefits have been gradually reduced this year and more reductions are set for September. In addition, extended benefits are tied to the state unemployment rate. Unemployment has to be above a certain level in each state for additional weeks of benefits to kick in. These changes impact workers who are already collecting extended benefits.
Newly unemployed workers are only eligible for up to 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. There are no extended benefits in place for 2013 unless Congress reauthorizes the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. In my opinion, that won't happen, if it does happen, until after the election and much closer to the end of the year.
Here's more information on the changes:
Important: Check your State Unemployment Office website for details on who qualifies for extended benefits and when and how benefits will be paid. Check the "Extended Benefits" section for information.
If you have run out of unemployment or are about to lose your unemployment benefits, here's what to do when unemployment runs out.