Search Penny Hill Press

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Unemployment Insurance: Available Unemployment Benefits and Legislative Activity

Julie M. Whittaker
Specialist in Income Security

Alison M. Shelton
Analyst in Income Security

Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

Various benefits may be available to unemployed workers to provide income support. When eligible workers lose their jobs, the Unemployment Compensation (UC) program may provide up to 26 weeks of income support through the payment of regular UC benefits. Unemployment benefits may be extended for up to 53 weeks by the temporarily authorized Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program and additionally extended for up 13 or 20 weeks by the permanent Extended Benefit (EB) program if certain economic situations exist within the state. Certain groups of workers who lose their jobs because of international competition may qualify for income support through Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) programs. Unemployed workers may be eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits if they are not eligible for regular UC and if their unemployment may be directly attributed to a declared major disaster. 

The authorization for the EUC08 program expires on June 2, 2010. Those beneficiaries receiving tier I, II, III, or IV EUC08 benefits before May 29, 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 May 29, 2010. If an individual is eligible to continue to receive his or her remaining EUC08 tier benefit after May 29, 2010, that individual would not be entitled to tier II benefits once those tier I benefits were exhausted. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), P.L. 111-5, contained provisions affecting unemployment benefits: temporarily increased benefits by $25 per week (Federal Additional Compensation, or FAC); extended the EUC08 program through the end of 2009; provided for 100% federal financing of the EB program through January 1, 2010; and allowed states the option of temporarily easing EB eligibility requirements. ARRA also suspended income taxation on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009. In addition, states would not owe or accrue interest, through December 2010, on federal loans to states for the payment of unemployment benefits. ARRA also provided for a special transfer of up to $7 billion in federal monies to state unemployment programs as "incentive payments" for changing certain state UC laws as well as transferred $500 million to the states for administering unemployment programs. P.L. 111-92 expanded the number of weeks available in the EUC08 program through the creation of two additional tiers. P.L. 111-118 extended the EUC08 program, 100% federal financing of the EB program, and the $25 FAC benefit through the end of February 2010. P.L. 111-144 extended the EUC08 program, 100% federal financing of the EB program, and the $25 FAC benefit to April 5, 2010. 

On March 10, 2010, the Senate passed H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2010. H.R. 4213 would extend the availability of EUC08, 100% federal financing of EB, and the $25 FAC benefits, through the end of December 2010. Because the original bill was amended by the Senate in the nature of a substitute (S.Amdt. 3336), the Senate-passed version must now go back to the House for consideration. 

On April 15, 2010, the President signed P.L. 111-157, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, into law. P.L. 111-157 extends the availability of EUC08, 100% federal financing of EB, and the $25 FAC benefits, until the week ending on or before June 2, 2010.

Date of Report: May 5, 2010
Number of Pages:35
Order Number:RL33362
Price: $29.95

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.