Check Your State
Every state is different. Find out how it works in your state:
Increased Jobless Benefits in Hard Times
Under normal circumstances when you file for unemployment benefits you are entitled to receive up to 26 weeks of income from your state. These funds are paid through your state unemployment coffers. But what happens when massive lay-offs occur, the job market sours and industries go on widespread hiring freezes…how is anyone expected to find another job?
During periods of deep economic turmoil, when lay-offs are massive and the unemployment rate escalates, Congress may vote to extend unemployment insurance benefits for another number of weeks, usually 13 weeks.
Federal Extension of Unemployment Compensation Benefits
The federal Department of Labor may authorize the extension of unemployment benefits for the following:
- During extreme economic recession, depression, and high unemployment rates
- For particular states suffering unemployment above 6%
- During disasters
*First extensions and second extensions: Following an initial 13-week federal unemployment benefits extension, the government may decide to extend benefits once again—for another 13 weeks, depending upon the economic situation. Your eligibility is dependent upon your state’s current jobless rate.
State Extended Unemployment Benefits
But it’s not just the federal government that may authorize an unemployment extension—your home state may decide to extend benefits even further.
States in which the jobless rate rises above 6% may choose to declare benefits extended for up to 7 more weeks—this period of compensation is called additional first tier benefits. In combination with a federal extension, you could be eligible for up to 20 weeks of unemployment compensation.
If you qualify for extended unemployment benefits follow any direction you receive directly from your state unemployment office for alternative claims filing.
Qualifying for Extended Unemployment Benefits
You may qualify for extended benefits if you have maxxed out your regular 26 weeks of unemployment, are still unemployed, and in a state where extended benefits are being offered.
Not every state is authorized to extend jobless benefits. Some states’ unemployment rates are much more severe than others. Extensions are based on this data, not on your particular hardship.
You may contact your state labor department or unemployment inquiry line for information on the current status of extended or emergency unemployment benefits. But in most cases you will be notified of your eligibility near the end of your initial 26 weeks of benefits.
Check Your State
Every state is different. Find out how it works in your state: State Unemployment Directory