Extended Unemployment Benefits

During this challenging time, there are additional unemployment benefits available to workers who have lost their jobs.

If you have exhausted unemployment benefits or are worried about running out of them, there are extended benefits funded by the federal government that will provide unemployment compensation beyond the maximum number of weeks provided by your state.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) stimulus bill was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It extended unemployment benefits for workers who were impacted by the pandemic through December 31, 2020.

Who Is Eligible for Extended Unemployment Benefits?

What benefits will unemployed workers be eligible for? Ordinarily, workers in most states are eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, although some states provide less coverage. Montana is the only state that provides more with 28 weeks of unemployment benefits.

In times of high unemployment, the federal government provides funds to the states to extend unemployment insurance programs for additional weeks of benefits beyond what each state offers.

In addition to employees who have traditionally been eligible to collect unemployment insurance compensation, the CARES Act extends benefits to workers who have not qualified for unemployment benefits in the past including independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers, and the long-term unemployed who have exhausted their benefits.

How Many Weeks of Unemployment Benefits Can You Get?

Unemployed workers can receive up to a maximum of 52 – 59 weeks of unemployment compensation, depending on location, the unemployment rate, extended unemployment benefits, and eligibility.

Those benefits include a combination of unemployment insurance programs including additional weeks of benefits, extended benefits, and a supplemental weekly payment.

Basic Unemployment Benefits

Approved claimants will be eligible for either regular state unemployment benefits (for employees) or pandemic unemployment benefits (for self-employed workers and others who don’t qualify for regular benefits).

  • State Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UI)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Enhanced Unemployment Benefit Programs

These programs provide for unemployed workers who are receiving unemployment:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC)—Additional $300 per week through March 14, 2021.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)—Allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 14, 2021 to continue through April 5, 2021, as long as the individual has not reached the maximum number of weeks. It also increases the number of weeks of benefits an individual may claim through the PEUC program from 13 to 24.
  • Extended Unemployment Benefits (EB)—Additional 13 additional weeks of benefits when a state is experiencing high unemployment. Some states have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Unemployment Extended Benefits (EB)

Your state and the federal government may provide additional benefits to people who have exhausted unemployment benefits.

There are additional weeks of federally funded Extended Benefits (EB) in states with high unemployment.

Unemployed workers are eligible for up to 13 or 20 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, depending on state laws, and the unemployment rate.

How to Collect Extended Unemployment Benefits

How you will collect extended benefits will vary based on your state. In some states, you won’t need to do anything. You will automatically be paid for the additional weeks. In others, you may need to apply.

  • If you are currently collecting unemployment benefits:
    Benefits are provided through the state unemployment offices and information on eligibility will be posted online. If you are eligible, you will be advised on how to collect when your regular unemployment benefits end.
  • If you have exhausted unemployment benefits:
    Long-term unemployed workers who have already exhausted state unemployment benefits may also be eligible for additional weeks of benefits. Check with your state unemployment website for eligibility criteria in your location.

Source: the balance careers