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 2013.
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 the following update:
- As we get closer to the end of the year, the weeks of federal extensions will continue to wind down and most eligible unemployed workers will not qualify for any or all of the federal extensions currently available. For example, the majority of unemployed workers that start a regular unemployment claim (26 weeks) in the beginning of July 2013 will not qualify for any EUC federal extensions when their regular claim ends due to the scheduled end of the EUC federal extensions on December 28, 2013.
Congress may reauthorize federal benefits for 2014, 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.