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Monday, May 9, 2011

Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 112th Congress

Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

Julie M. Whittaker
Specialist in Income Security

The 112th Congress may consider a number of issues related to currently available unemployment insurance programs: Unemployment Compensation (UC), the temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08), and Extended Benefits (EB). With the national unemployment predicted to remain high into next year, the increased demand for regular and extended unemployment benefits will continue. At the same time, the authorization for several key unemployment insurance provisions is temporary and will end in the next year. For instance, the EUC08 program, which currently provides the bulk of extended unemployment benefits, is scheduled to expire the week ending on or before January 3, 2012. The 100% federal financing of the EB program will expire on January 4, 2012. In addition, a temporary 0.2% federal unemployment tax (FUTA) surtax expires at the end of June 2011.

The 112
th Congress faces these upcoming expirations as well as other likely unemployment insurance policy issues, including unemployment insurance financing. In addition, recent policy discussions have focused on the appropriate length of unemployment benefits. This discussion includes consideration of whether additional weeks of unemployment benefits—the creation of a tier V of the EUC08 program, for instance—is warranted.

This report provides a brief overview of the three unemployment insurance programs—UC, EUC08, and EB—that may currently pay benefits to eligible unemployed workers. It also summarizes unemployment insurance legislation in the previous (111
th) Congress and describes relevant legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.

Date of Report: April 25, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: R41662
Price: $29.95

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