Update January 15, 2014: There are currently no federal unemployment benefits in place for 2014. Hopefully, an extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will be passed in early January. Here's information on what's happening with Unemployment Extensions for 2014.
Unemployment Benefits for 2013
For 2013, a combination of state and federal unemployment benefits are available for jobless workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Regular unemployment (UI) provides benefits for up to a maximum 26 weeks, depending on the number of weeks you have worked in your claim year.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits, which are funded by the federal government, are available for the remainder of the year. However, there have been cuts in unemployment benefits due to the sequester budget cuts. Here's an overview of changes in unemployment due to sequestration on state-by-state basis.
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)
Regular unemployment benefits are provided for a maximum of 26 weeks. These unemployment benefits are provided by state unemployment insurance programs. Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by state law and vary depending on which state you are collecting unemployment from and on your work history. Here's more information on qualifying for unemployment compensation.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)
There are several tiers of Emergency Unemployment Compensation which provide additional weeks of benefits for workers who have used all their state benefits. There are currently four tiers of unemployment benefits. Each tier provides extra weeks of unemployment compensation in addition to regular unemployment benefits.
Most unemployed workers are entitled to Tier 1, which is 14 weeks. However, to be eligible for Tiers 2 - 4 (there is no Tier 5) the state unemployment rate must be above a certain percentage.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tiers
The tiers of unemployment benefits that an unemployed worker is covered under depend on the date of his unemployment claim and on the state unemployment rate. Here's information on the tiers of unemployment benefits available including the number of weeks and eligibility requirements for each tier.
- Not all claimants qualify for all tiers or for all the weeks of EUC.
- Depending on your claim date, you may be eligible for additional weeks of EUC benefits. Here's more information on the tiers of unemployment benefits available to claimants.
- Check the Extended Benefits section on your state unemployment office website for information because the criteria for eligibility is complicated.
Extended Benefits (EB)
The Extended Benefits (EB) Program provides an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits to workers receiving state unemployment insurance benefits in states with a high unemployment rate. This is based on an increase in the state unemployment rate.
State Eligibility for Extended Benefit (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation Programs
The Department of Labor 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. In addition, your state unemployment website should have information on available tiers and typically notifies recipients when their eligibility changes.
How Unemployment Benefits Are Paid
All unemployment benefits are paid through the state unemployment system. Filing requirements and eligibility vary by state. In some states you will automatically move from regular to extended benefits. In others, you may have to file for extensions to your claim. Check with your state unemployment office for details.
When you file for unemployment compensation you will be advised of the options available for receiving benefits. Options may include direct deposit to your bank account or payment by a debit card (also known as a direct payment card or electronic payment card) which is funded by your state unemployment office. Most states do not pay unemployment benefits with a paper check.
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