As we head towards the end of the year, federal extended unemployment programs are phasing out. Unless Congress reauthorizes an extension of federally funded unemployment compensation, the only benefits unemployed workers will be eligible for is up to 26 weeks of state unemployment.
The federal government has traditionally provided long term unemployment benefits which are in addition to state benefits. This changed when legislation was passed in January providing for extended unemployment benefits for the remainder of 2012.
If you're unemployed and not sure how the changes impact you, check your state unemployment website for details. States are starting to provide advance notice of benefit cuts. For example, California posted an update on September 25:
- According to federal law, the last payable week ending date for all federal extensions is December 29, 2012.
- Regardless of when your regular claim or extension benefits start, December 29, 2012, will be the last week ending date that EDD can pay federal extension (Tiers 1 - 4) benefits to eligible unemployed workers, even if someone is currently unemployed or has a remaining balance on their federal extension.
Here's more on the phase out of federal unemployment insurance benefits from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
Congress may reauthorize federal benefits for 2013, but if they do it probably won't be until later on and it may go down to the wire like it did last year. This means that unemployed workers have no guarantee of receiving any benefits beyond state unemployment benefits after the end of the year.