Julie M. Whittaker Specialist in Income Security
Katelin P. Isaacs Analyst in Income Security
Alison M. Shelton 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 extended for up to a further 13 or 20 weeks by the permanent Extended Benefit (EB) program under certain state economic conditions. 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 expired 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 30, 2010. If an individual is eligible to continue to receive any remaining EUC08 tier I benefit after May 30, 2010, that individual would not be entitled to tier II benefits after exhaustion of tier I. There are no proposals that would create a tier V of EUC08 benefits (see the section in this report on "Policy Proposals that Target Unemployment Benefit Exhaustees" for additional measures to address the needs of the long-term unemployed).
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), P.L. 111-5, contained several provisions affecting unemployment benefits. ARRA temporarily increased benefits by $25 per week (Federal Additional Compensation, or FAC); extended the EUC08 program through the end of 2009; temporarily provided for 100% federal financing of the EB program; 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 do 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 and P.L. 111-144 extended the EUC08 program, 100% federal financing of the EB program, and the $25 FAC benefit through the end of February 2010 and through April 5, 2010, respectively.
On April 15, 2010, the President signed P.L. 111-157, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, into law. P.L. 111-157 extended the availability of EUC08, 100% federal financing of EB, and the $25 FAC benefit until the week ending on or before June 2, 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 benefit, through the end of December 2010. This version went back to the House where it was amended to extend these three unemployment compensation provisions through the end of November 2010. The latest House version of H.R. 4213 was passed on May 28, 2010. This legislation must now go back to the Senate for consideration.
Date of Report: June 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 37 Order Number: RL33362 Price: $29.95
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