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Unemployment Tiers

Tiers of Extended Unemployment Benefits

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Update January 15, 2014: Federal emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) extended benefit programs expired on December 28, 2013.  There are currently no extended unemployment benefits in place for 2014 unless Congress acts to renew them. Here's information on action to restore unemployment extensions for 2014, and what you can do if you run out of unemployment benefits.

Tiers of Extended Unemployment Benefits

The unemployment extension legislation passed by Congress in February, 2012 changed the way the tiers of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) are structured. The program has been extended through December 28, 2013.

Changes to Extended Unemployment Compensation Tiers

There are no changes to state unemployment benefits. Unemployed workers will still be eligible for up to 26 weeks of state unemployment compensation.

The tiers of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) changed starting in February, 2012. The number of weeks have gradually been reduced and the number of weeks of benefits that you will collect depends on the state from which you are receiving unemployment compensation and when your claim was filed.

There are four (Tiers 1 - 4) tiers of unemployment compensation beyond regular state unemployment benefits that unemployment workers may be eligible for. EUC Tier 1 provides up to 14 weeks of additional benefits and it is offered in all states. Tiers 2 - 4 are available depending on the unemployment rate in the state.

Eligibility for Tiers of Unemployment

The tiers of benefits, and the number of weeks within the tier, that you will be eligible for depend on the unemployment rate in your state and the dates when claim/extensions were filed. Claimants who filed for benefits early in 2012 may have different weeks available within each tier. For example, take a look at California's Federal Unemployment Extensions website to see the different benefit levels in California.

Here's information on the tier structure for 2013.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tiers for 2013

  • Tier 1: 14 weeks
  • Tier 2: 14 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 6% or higher
  • Tier 3: 9 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 7% or higher
  • Tier 4: 10 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 9% or higher

Please Note: Depending on the date you were laid off, you may be covered under a different tier structure.

Maximum Number of Weeks of Unemployment

For 2013, the maximum weeks of available unemployment benefits are:

  • 73 Weeks (including state unemployment benefits which are a maximum of 26 weeks)
Please Note: Some states provide less than 26 weeks of state and federal unemployment benefits, so the maximum available weeks in your location may be less. In addition, depending on the date of your claim, you may be entitled to a different amount of weeks of unemployment.

How to Check Your Extended Unemployment Benefits

Your state unemployment office website will have a chart that explains how many weeks are included in each tier (1 - 4) of benefits. For example, here's information on California Unemployment Extensions.

Your state may also provide an unemployment calculator where you can enter the date of your original claim to see how much unemployment you are eligible for. For example, here's New York's UI Benefits Calculator.

Important: It's important to check with your state unemployment office for a determination of the extended unemployment benefits you are eligible for because eligibility varies based on your location, claim date and the state unemployment rate. Not all claimants are eligible for all weeks of EUC. Eligibility is complicated, so check with your state unemployment office (usually the Extended Benefits section) for details.

Extended Benefit (EB) Programs

In addition to EUC benefits, during times of high unemployment, unemployed workers may be eligible for up to 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB) which is based on an increase in the state unemployment rate.

Changes in Extended Benefit (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Trigger (EUC) Notices

The Department of Labor (DOL) provides updated information each week on state eligibility for EB and EUC unemployment extensions. You can check the Trigger Notice Report for information on changes in eligibility for your state.

Read More: Unemployment Compensation | Unemployment Extension | How to Calculate Your Unemployment Benefits

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