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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Temporary Extension of Unemployment Benefits: Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08)

Julie M. Whittaker
Specialist in Income Security

Alison M. Shelton
Analyst in Income Security

In July 2008, a new temporary unemployment benefit, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, began. The EUC08 program was created by P.L. 110-252, and it was amended by P.L. 110-449, P.L. 111-5, and P.L. 111-92. This temporary unemployment insurance program provides up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to certain workers who have exhausted their rights to regular unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. A second tier of benefits provides up to an additional 14 weeks of benefits (for a total of 34 weeks of EUC08 benefits for all unemployed workers). A third tier is available in states with a total unemployment rate of at least 6% and provides up to an additional 13 weeks of EUC08 benefits (for a total of 47 weeks of EUC08 benefits). A fourth tier is available in states with a total unemployment rate of at least 8.5 % and provides up to an additional 6 weeks of EUC08 benefits (for a total of 53 weeks of EUC08 benefits). The EUC08 program expires at the end of December 2009, although Congress is currently considering legislation to extend the program.

All tiers of EUC08 benefits are temporary and expire on February 28, 2010. Those beneficiaries receiving tier I, II, III, or IV EUC08 benefits before February 28, 2010, are "grandfathered" for their remaining weeks of eligibility for that particular tier only. There will be no new entrants into any tier of the EUC08 program after December 26, 2009. That is, if an individual exhausts his or her regular unemployment compensation (UC) benefits after February 28, 2010, the individual would not be eligible for any EUC08 benefit. If an individual is eligible to continue to receive his or her remaining tier I benefit after February 28, 2010, that individual would not be entitled to tier II benefits once those tier I benefits were exhausted. No EUC08 benefits—regardless of tier—are payable for any week after July 31, 2010.

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, P.L. 111-92, expanded benefits available in the EUC08 program. It substantially increased the number of weeks of EUC08 benefits available to individuals. Tier I benefits continue to be up to 20 weeks in duration and tier II benefits are now 14 weeks in duration (compared with 13 previously) and no longer are dependent on a state's unemployment rate. The new tier III benefit provides up to 13 weeks of EUC08 benefits to those workers in states with an average unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The new tier IV benefit may provide up to an additional 6 weeks of benefits if the state unemployment rate is at least 8.5%.

On December 21, 2009, the President signed H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, into law. H.R. 3326 extends the availability of EUC08 benefits for two months, through the end of February 2010. It also extends the $25 federal additional compensation benefit and 100% federal extended benefit (EB) financing through February 28, 2010.

On December 16, 2009, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2847, the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010, which would extend the availability of EUC08 benefits for six months, through the end of June 2010.

Date of Report: December 22, 2009
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: RS22915
Price: $29.95

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