Sept# just released: +142,000 jobs, Unemp rate the same at 5.1%. September details here... Jobs since Obama took office?... Unemp. rate under Obama?

Friday, February 17, 2012

How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Will I Get Now? (Updated June 6, 2015)

What's Going On With Unemployment Insurance Benefits Compensation Extensions?

August 2015 numbers to be released Fri. Sept. 4


6/5/2015 Update:  Still no update.  There are NO FEDERAL unemployment extensions these days.  There are no EUC08 benefits available for 2015.  In fact, some Republican-led states offer 20 or fewer weeks of unemployment benefits, which you can see on the map and chart below.  As long as the unemployment rate continues to go down, don't expect any more unemployment benefit extensions.   However, a few states have programs that provide some extra weeks of unemployment benefits.  Massachusetts, for instance, has a "Section 30" program providing extra weeks of benefits if people are in approved training.  Please check with your state Department of Labor to determine if your state has any such programs, and, if so, what the requirements of such programs are.   

1/31/2015 Update:  Well, no update.  There are NO unemployment extensions these days.  In fact, some Republican-led states offer 20 or fewer weeks of unemployment benefits, which you can see on the map and chart below.  As long as the unemployment rate continues to go down, don't expect any more unemployment benefit extensions.  
8/3/2014 Update:  The Republicans in the House blocked the Senate-approved bill to extend unemployment benefits that is mentioned below; it was never brought to a vote.  And last week the Republican-led House of Representatives went on their 5 week August vacation.  It is doubtful that extended unemployment benefits will be approved.  The map in blue below show the current number of weeks that people can expect to get unemployment insurance.  The best synopsis of the current situation is presented HERE, by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).  
From the article:  "Democrats have met every condition that Republicans have set forth to extend the program. We have agreed to offset the cost of the program, despite the fact that House Republicans have passed more than $700 billion in unpaid-for tax cuts, largely for big corporations. We have agreed to extend the program prospectively, rather than retroactively. And we have urged connecting the legislation to a jobs package such as legislation to extend Highway Trust Fund.
By wide margins, Americans favor extending the program. Still, Republicans continue to block a single vote in the House.
The fight to renew unemployment insurance has always been about those who are most affected. This is about the forgotten Americans struggling just to make ends meet. Hundreds of people like Josephine have contacted my office to share their heart-breaking stories and ask for support from Congress. We hear them, we stand with them, and we urge House Republicans to end their resistance to an extension."  
We need to remember that the Republicans have repeatedly blocked job creation bills, even those that help veterans, and that the Republicans consider anti-environmental and anti-regulatory bills as "job creation" bills.  
4/30/2014 Update:  The Senate did approve a bill to extend unemployment benefits retroactively to December 28, 2013.  That bill was passed by the Senate April 7.  As of April 30, 2014, the House, led by Republican Speaker John Boehner, has refused to consider the bill even though it is paid for.  Republican Boehner apparently claims that there are no "job creation" measures in the bill.  We need to remember that the Republicans have repeatedly blocked job creation bills, even those that help veterans, and that the Republicans consider anti-environmental and anti-regulatory bills as "job creation" bills.  
3/13/2014 Update:  The Senate apparently has come to a deal to extend unemployment benefits.  However, it will need to be approved by the Senate and then sent to the House before it becomes law.  It will not be voted on by the whole Senate before March 24th, and, if it musters the sixty votes needed for passage in the Senate, it will then need to go to the House. Its fate in the House is not certain.  The compromise bill would, if it does become law, provide benefits retroactive to December 28, 2013.   
Important Note:  ALL extended unemployment benefits expired the week ending December 28, 2013.  

MORE HERE:  Unemployment Extensions Expire: What Does That Mean?

Below is the CURRENT map from the Center on Budget and Priority Policies with maximum weeks of unemployment that are available now, in 2014, after unemployment extensions expired and were not renewed:

Here is the same current information, also from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in list form:

The following information pertains to unemployment extensions that were in effect BEFORE the agreement expired in late December 2013.  All CURRENT information is listed above; the following is provided only for historical reference:

Important Note:  ALL extended unemployment benefits expired the week ending December 28, 2013.  Unless Congress acts to extend this program, there will be NO federal extended unemployment benefits available after December 28, 2013.  The recent budget deal that was negotiated to avoid a government shutdown in January did NOT include an extension of unemployment benefits.  The Senate, controlled by Democrats, has introduced a bill extend unemployment benefits, but it is unclear if such a bill will even be introduced in the Republican-controlled House, much less be passed by the House.  As of this point in time, (January 7, 2014), there are about 1.4 million people on extended benefits who will not be able to certify for weeks of unemployment after December 28, 2013.  I'll repeat that:  After December 28, 2013, there will be NO TIERS of unemployment extensions available ANYWHERE.  (Earlier I mistakenly said that no checks will be available after December 28th; however, most people who CERTIFY for the week ending December 28th will get a check in the first week of January.  That will be their last check.)  If you are concerned about this, you need to start calling your Senators and Representatives, particularly the Republican Representatives NOW.  
Update December 17, 2013:   The map and list of weeks by state below (from CBPP) has been updated and includes all recent updates effective in December.  This map shows weeks of extended benefits available before ALL extensions expired December 28th.  This map shows what would be in effect if extensions did not expire December 28th.      
Update November 25, 2013:   The map and list of weeks by state below (from CBPP) has been updated, but it does NOT include upcoming changes for Colorado and Florida (effective December 14, 2013) nor upcoming changes for Alaska, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Washington (effective December 8,2013).  Please check HERE for details for these states and territories!    
Update November 2013:   The map and list of weeks by state below (from CBPP) has been updated, and it includes upcoming changes for Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Missouri effective October 6, 2013.   The list of weeks below DOES include upcoming changes for the Virgin Islands effective November 10, 2013.   Please check HERE for details for these states and territories!   
Update August 28, 2013:   The map and list of weeks by state below (from CBPP) has been updated and includes changes for Mississippi and Wisconsin effective September 14, 2013.  Please check HERE for details for these states! 
Update July 24, 2013:  The map and list of weeks by state from CBPP has been updated and includes changes for California, Rhode Island, Washington, and Alaska.  Please check HERE for details for these states!
Update July 14, 2013: In response to a reader's question, you collect from the state in which you were employed, not in the state in which you reside.  If you worked in two states, contact the agency in the state in which you last worked for help.

Update May 28, 2013:  In answer to a question, nobody in any state still gets 99 weeks of unemployment insurance compensation.  See state by state table below.  "Additional weeks of benefits" table updated to include only current status.  State by state table added.  Also, Extended Benefits are NOT available in any state now.
Update April 2, 2013:  Because of the sequester, the AMOUNT of weekly unemployment compensation that many of the unemployed get will decrease.  CLICK HERE for a recent article about these decreases. 
Update January 2, 2013 (1 a.m.): The House has approved the Senate "fiscal cliff" deal and it has been signed into law. It includes CONTINUING the unemployment benefit extensions that were enacted last February and are described below. It does NOT include any MORE extensions. An explanation:  If, according to the chart below, people in your state were most recently entitled to 73 weeks of unemployment benefits and you have used up your 73 weeks, you will not get any more weeks. But if you have only used up 60 weeks, then you will still get the last 13 (unless the unemployment rate in your state drops below the trigger). If you exhausted your weeks of unemployment benefits in 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012, there are NO extra weeks for you. Please check THIS LINK for more details as they are available. 
Please note that current extensions are tied into the unemployment rate for each state and, as the unemployment rate is going down in most states, many beneficiaries will lose some or all of their benefits even though extensions have been approved through 2013.  Please check the chart below. 

The unemployment provisions passed in February 2012 and renewed in the January 2013 Fiscal Cliff deal are complicated, and beneficiaries are urged to contact their state labor or unemployment agencies to find out how these changes will affect them. Please note that some of the questions about job search requirements, drug testing, weeks of benefits, termination of EB, etc., have been addressed below. Continue reading if you are interested in information on those topics.

Maximum Duration of Unemployment Insurance by State
Changes to availability in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Washington are listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility as of December 2013. 
Changes to availability in Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, and the Virgin Islands are listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility as of October & November 2013. 
Changes to availability in Wisconsin and MIssissippi ARE listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility as of September 2013.
Changes to availability in California, Rhode Island, Washington, and Alaska ARE listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility as of August 2013.  
Recent changes to availability in Maine, New Jersey, Louisiana, West Virginia, the Virgin Islands and North Carolina ARE listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility as of July 2013.  Details for North Carolina are available HERE.
Changes to availability in Alaska, Ohio, and Wisconsin  as of May are listed on the following map.  Details ARE available at THIS LINK:  Changes in State Eligibility (May 4th).  
Changes to availability in Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, and Louisiana are listed on the following map as of Monday, April 22nd.  Details ARE also available at THIS LINK:   Changes in State Eligibility as Of April 19th.  

For reference and comparison, below is a 
map with maximum weeks of unemployment that were available as of December 15, 2013, BEFORE all extended benefits expired.) from the Center on Budget and Priority Policies.  


The following information pertains to unemployment extensions that were in effect BEFORE the agreement expired in late December 2013.  All CURRENT information is listed at the top of the page; the following is provided only for historical reference:

The Details of the Extension That Has Expired:

Important Note:  ALL extended unemployment benefits expired the the week ending December 28, 2013.  Unless Congress acts to extend this program, which seems unlikely due to Republican control of the House of Representatives, there will be NO federal extended unemployment benefits available for weeks ending after December 28, 2013. There are still about 1.3 million people depending on extended unemployment benefits.   (Please read the update at the top of this article.)

The Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement on extending the payroll tax cuts as well as extending unemployment benefits for the rest of the year of 2012.  The extension was passed by both the House and the Senate this morning, Friday, February 17th, 2012.  President Obama has said he will sign it as soon as he gets back to Washington, D.C.  (*Update 1/2/2013: The recent fiscal cliff agreement does NOT provide for the extension of the payroll tax cuts, but it does provide for an extension of unemployment benefits for the rest of 2013 for those who have not yet exhausted their unemployment benefits.)   

If you are currently collecting unemployment insurance benefits and you are wondering how this agreement will affect you, please bookmark this page and check back throughout the coming weeks.  Basically, weeks of benefits declined during 2012, depending on how many weeks you had already received and what the unemployment rate was in your state.  99 weeks of benefits were available to people in high (over 8.5%) unemployment states until the end of May 2012.  89 weeks were available to people in states with unemployment lower than 8.5% in Spring 2012.  (*Update 4/26/2013:  Extended benefits will no longer be available in Alaska OR ANY STATE after May 4th; therefore, the highest number of unemployment weeks available will be 73 weeks to states with 9% or higher unemployment rates.  The Fiscal Cliff deal did NOT change this.)  

Here's a summary of the conference compromise that was passed in February 2012 (which has been extended in the 2013 Fiscal Cliff agreement) with a chart showing the number of weeks of unemployment compensation:

The agreement would guarantee continued Federal unemployment benefits through the remainder of this year, while gradually reducing the number of weeks in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through a 3-step process.  
Throughout this period, the Extended Benefits (EB) program, which provides a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits after an individual exhausts EUC would continue under current law, phasing out as a state’s unemployment rates improves in comparison to three years ago. 
From March 2012 through May 2012 – The level of unemployment insurance benefits continue equal to an extension of current law, and high unemployment states losing benefits under the EB program would get an extra 10 weeks.  Between 89 and 99 weeks of total unemployment benefits available in high unemployment states between the EUC program and the EB program. 
From June 2012 through August 2012 – The unemployment rate requirement would increase in three of the four tiers of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.  Up to 79 weeks of total benefits available in high unemployment States with a few states continuing to receive additional EB weeks as under current law. 
From September 2012 through December 2012 (Apparently updated to be in effect until December 2013) – EUC benefits would be reduced by 6 weeks in all States.  This would cap total unemployment benefits at 73 weeks in SOME states when Extended Benefits are not available.  (This paragraph was updated May 2013)  

NELP's (National Employment Law Project's) take in 2012:

."While the agreement is certainly not all we would want and unemployed workers need, it is a relief that Congress appears poised to act before members head off for their vacations next week. 
The deal is far from perfect, but if enacted, it will prevent the cut-off of benefits for millions of jobless workers in the coming months. The unemployment insurance agreement features a graduated approach that phases in a reduction of weeks
and avoids the kinds of shocks to the economy that would occur were there an abrupt reduction. The compromise also shows sensitivity to high-unemployment states by preserving the greatest number of weeks for jobless workers in the hardest hit states. The compromise largely avoids the worst features of the proposals contained in the original House bill that aimed to stigmatize and demonize long-term unemployed workers, like the GED requirement. Those provisions that allow states to experiment with limited program changes, like drug testing and wage subsidies, will have to be closely monitored to ensure that they do not undermine strong labor standards or the core principles of the unemployment insurance program. No one has been hit as hard or suffered as much as the long-term unemployed, and they need the support of unemployment insurance in order to provide for their families and continue their job search until the economy significantly improves...

For the moment, Congress should approve this bill and turn to aggressive strategies to put the long-term unemployed back to work: that means effective reemployment policies; more support for education, training, job creation and job placement services; and more investments to rebuild America’s infrastructure and create a 21st century economy founded on good jobs.
(Update from NELP after Fiscal Cliff deal in January 2013:)
America’s unemployed workers have reason to celebrate Congress’s bi-partisan approval of the fiscal cliff compromise that extends the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through 2013. The deal preserves a vital lifeline of support for two million long-term unemployed workers who faced an abrupt cut-off of all jobless aid this week, and for millions more who will run out of state unemployment insurance during 2013. Congress rightly treated the extension of  unemployment insurance as an emergency measure, not requiring its cost to be offset.   
Renewal of the EUC program through 2013 keeps in place the strongest program of unemployment insurance in the nation’s history, an appropriate response to the Great Recession and slow recovery that continue to generate too few jobs for all who want and need to work. Building and maintaining this program would not have been possible without strong leadership in the Senate and House, especially by Senator Jack Reed and Representative Sander Levin, and the unwavering commitment of President Obama since day one of his presidency. We commend the President and congressional leaders for their dedication to preserving this crucial program.


From CNN through Open Congress: (published February 2013)

  • Extends current levels and length of unemployment benefits through May. After that maximum lengths of benefits decrease in steps.
  • On Sept. 1, max. unemployment benefits would fall to 73 weeks in the highest unemployment states. (GOP source says that’s 9% unemployment or more.)
  • On Sept. 1, unemployment benefits would drop to 63 weeks in states with average unemployment.
  • Drug testing: Republicans say the deal would allow states to drug test unemployment beneficiaries if a) they are unemployed because of a failed or refused drug test or b) if they are applying for jobs that require drug testing.
  • Long-term unemployed: would have to go through a “reemployment assessment”, according to Republicans. This would assess what skills and services they need to be hired and require that they participate in recommended programs.
  • Job search requirements: Republicans say the deal would issue a first set of “national job search requirements” for those receiving unemployment benefits. We are waiting for details on what that means.
Are there new national job search requirements for unemployment?

As I read through the law, I could not see anything that is different from the state requirements here in Illinois.  I do not know if these requirements would be new in other states.   Here's the new law:

13 (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 4001(b) of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110–252; 15 26 U.S.C. 3304 note) is amended:
 (1) by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of paragraph 17 (2);  (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (3) and inserting ‘‘; and’’; and (3) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(4) are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work.’’. 
 (b) ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK.—Section 4001 of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following:  ‘‘(h) ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of subsection (b)(4), the term ‘actively seeking work’ means, with respect to any individual, that such individual—
 ‘‘(A) is registered for employment services in such a manner and to such extent as prescribed by the State agency; 
(B) has engaged in an active search for employment that is appropriate in light of the employment available in the labor market, the individual’s skills and capabilities, and includes a number of employer contacts that is consistent with the standards communicated to the individual by the State;
(C) has maintained a record of such work search, including employers contacted, method of contact, and date contacted; and 
(D) when requested, has provided such work search record to the State agency. 
(2) RANDOM AUDITING.—The Secretary shall establish for each State a minimum number of claims for which work search records must be audited on a random basis in any given week.’’
As I wrote above, I see nothing new in this law for my state, Illinois, but I don't know about other states. 

How long is average unemployment in July 2013? 

(Updated for July on August 28, 2013)  

Average unemployment (NOT average weeks of benefits received) in July 2013 has dropped to 36.6 weeks (It was 36.5 weeks in April.).  The median (half more, half less) is much less at 15.7 weeks (down from 17.5 weeks in April).

1.3 million people have been unemployed between 27 (a half year) and 51 weeks, down from 1.4 million in April 2013 and down from 1.6 million a year ago. 3.0 million people have been unemployed (actively looking for work) for at least 52 weeks, down from 3.1 million in April 2013 and down from 3.6 million a year ago.

The number of people unemployed is decreasing slowly; the median length of unemployment is decreasing slowly; but we still have a large group of very long-term unemployed.  Among these 4.2 million people unemployed over 27 weeks are the 1.5 million people who are now depending on federal extended unemployment benefits.  About 36% of the long-term unemployed are still collecting benefits; but about 64% of the long-term unemployed are NOT eligible for any benefits. 

What About Drug Testing?  Am I Going to Have to be Drug Tested to Continue Getting Unemployment Benefits?

Do People in Extended Benefits get an extra 10 weeks?  (Updated 1/2/2013:  This section discusses Extended Benefits as of early 2012.  Note that Extended Benefits are no longer available anywhere as of May 4, 2013.) 

It really is confusing, no doubt about it.  O.K., the most that anyone can get with state Extended Benefits is 20 weeks.  Now, some states, such as Maine and Michigan, have already triggered off of Extended Benefits due to the strange way that EB eligibility is calculated which involves a "look back" clause, comparing the current unemployment rate to the unemployment rate 3 years ago.  In other words, unemployment has to be some percentage worse than it was three years ago for a state to get Extended Benefits.  And three years ago, the unemployment rate was on the way up and reached a high point nationally in October 2009.  So all states will probably trigger off of EB sometime during 2012.  (As of May 4, 2013, NO STATE will be eligible for Extended Benefits. )  

So that millions of people aren't dumped off of unemployment at one time, a provision was placed in the new law that allows people in states with still high unemployment rates who have triggered off of EB to get ten extra weeks which will be tacked on to Tier IV.  It appears that people in Michigan will get that ten extra weeks, as their unemployment rate is still high; whereas, people in Maine will not get the ten extra weeks.  It appears that if you were not eligible for any more weeks in Michigan, as you had exhausted the 6 Tier IV weeks, you will get these ten extra weeks that are tacked onto Tier IV.  It seems, however, that you may not get those extra ten weeks until March.  If you move to Tier IV in March through May and your state has triggered off of EB, you will get 16 weeks of Tier IV instead of 6.  It is unclear if you get to keep any unused 16 weeks of Tier IV after June 1st.  So if you live in Michigan and have exhausted all benefits, don't celebrate yet; wait until there is more definite information.     

But it does seem that if you are in Michigan and have exhausted your Tiers and are not getting EB, you just MAY get those ten extra weeks.  Yes, it is confusing.  What is unclear is whether or not people who started EB, then had their state trigger off before they finished EB, will get the extra 10 weeks on Tier IV, as they have officially "exhausted" Tier IV.         

Representative Sandy Levin of Michigan has some information at his page about what this extension means for the people of Michigan.
*Update 5/1/2012  More States Trigger off of EB Benefits
Due to the drop in the unemployment rate for many states and the strange "look back" way that Extended Benefits are determined, a number of states, some of them large, will trigger off of EB at the end of this week.  States included are  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  People who have not yet moved to Extended Benefits MAY be eligible for an extra ten weeks of Tier IV compensation.  The current unemployment extension scheme is really very complicated, and it is best to contact your state unemployment agency for information.    More HERE.
*Update 11/25/2012 Only New York Still Eligible for State Extended Benefits (EB)
All other states, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, are NO LONGER eligible for state Extended Benefits (EB).  More HERE. 
*Update 1/2/2013:  NO state is eligible for state Extended Benefits.  New York has also triggered off.   More HERE.
*Update 2/12/2013:  Alaska has triggered back on to Extended Benefits.   More HERE.
*Update 4/26/2013:  Alaska will trigger off of Extended Benefits as of May 4, 2013.   More HERE.

Earlier Updates:
Update June 27, 2013:  The map and list of available weeks of unemployment compensation has been updated and includes changes for Maine, New Jersey, West Virginia, Louisiana, and the Virgin Islands.  Please check HERE for details for these states and territories!

Update April 26, 2013:  Changes in state eligibility have been announced for the following states:  Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin.  Please check HERE for details!    
Update April 19, 2013:  Changes in state eligibility have been announced for the following states:  Delaware, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan.  Please click HERE for details!  
Update April 2, 2013:  Because of the sequester, the AMOUNT of weekly unemployment compensation that many of the unemployed get will decrease.  CLICK HERE for a recent article about these decreases. 
Update January 2, 2013 (1 a.m.): The House has approved the Senate "fiscal cliff" deal and it has been signed into law. It includes CONTINUING the unemployment benefit extensions that were enacted last February and are described below. It does NOT include any MORE extensions. An explanation:  If, according to the chart below, people in your state were most recently entitled to 73 weeks of unemployment benefits and you have used up your 73 weeks, you will not get any more weeks. But if you have only used up 60 weeks, then you will still get the last 13 (unless the unemployment rate in your state drops below the trigger). If you exhausted your weeks of unemployment benefits in 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012,  there are NO extra weeks for you. Please check THIS LINK for more details as they are available. 
Update January 1, 2013 (2 a.m.): The Senate has approved an extension of unemployment benefits as part of a Fiscal Cliff deal. Please check THIS LINK for details as they are available.


  1. Someone on another site is saying even if you have collected one week of EB and your state triggers off you are not entitled to the 10 weeks.. you are saying it appears we would.. i'm so confused =(

  2. Hi Tiredlullaby.. Thanks for stopping by. I think it is confusing and many people still don't know exactly what it means, particularly for people who are on EB. There is no change to EB, so if your EB triggers off, you won't get any more EB. The question you have is whether or not you will have the ten extra weeks under Tier IV. That is unclear and I don't mean to imply in my article that people will get the ten extra weeks.

  3. So coming from the other side of the fence as an do I know how many weeks a former employee has left on her unemployment in the state of Illinois

  4. Hi Anonymous... I don't think that there is any direct way you can tell. If you are talking about regular state unemployment, if the person was laid off in 2011 or earlier, the person has 26 weeks of regular state unemployment before all of the tiers kick in. If laid off in 2012, then person has 25 weeks of regular state unemployment before all of the tiers kick in.

    But you don't know if any specific employee has or has not USED his/her specific weeks. In other words, an employee can be ill or take a vacation and not use his/her unemployment weeks during that time. He/she still gets 25 or 26 regular state unemployment weeks, but it may take him/her 27 or 28 or 30 weeks to use those regular state unemployment weeks.

    So.. no easy answer to your question. I believe that employers do get reports of benefits used from IDES, but I don't know how detailed they are; that is, I don't know if the employer gets a report telling him/her how many people or which people are collecting how many weeks on a claim/claims from his/her business. You would have to talk to someone at IDES for that information.

  5. She was fired (long story) in April 2011. I do receive notices every quarter but to tell you the truth it's almost like reading them in a different language because of the verbiage being so confusing. It doesn't really say anything about how many weeks she has left.

  6. Hello, I was laid off in April 2012, I worked from August 2011 to April 2012. I only received 19 weeks of UC and I did not qualify for EUC Tier 1 because I only worked 19 weeks in 2011. I am confused as to why they did not include the weeks from January - April 2012. I have appealed and have a phone hearing next week. Any thoughts

    1. Sorry, I have missed some of the comments here over the last couple of weeks. How did your appeal go? If you lost, did they at least explain things so that you could understand them? I know that qualification for EUC varies depending on how long you worked and how much money you made during the base period.

  7. Hi- I filed for unemployment in Dec 2011, and have been obn it almost one year with only a few interviews and no prospect of employmeny, my county is California is the lowest unemployment rate. How home can I expect help in unemplyoment? I am at the end of my nerves and rope, so to speak?
    Thank you all for help
    California girl

    1. It looks as though people in California can now get a maximum of 73 weeks, but that is only to the end of the year. All extensions are set to expire in late 2012, and, with the unemployment rate declining all over and with so much push against extending unemployment insurance, I do not believe that unemployment insurance will be extended past the basic 20 to 26 weeks after the first of the year.

      It would seem that you would only get unemployment insurance through the end of the year, though you would have to contact your state unemployment office to find out for sure. The unemployment rate in your county shouldn't make a difference, as weeks of unemployment insurance are determined on the state level, not the county level.

      Good luck to you.

  8. I'm so confused so forgive me please. I live in Illinois and can't seem to find a direct answer. How many weeks of Unemployment will I get with out applying for extended etc.... Will it just run out and I won't be able to certify any longer?

    1. Right now basic unemployment insurance in Illinois is offered for 25 weeks. After you run out of the 25 weeks, the system automatically files an application for you for extended unemployment benefits. If you are eligible for them, you can just continue to certify. If you are not eligible, you can certify anyway, but you won't get any payments.

      I believe the above is true, as we live in Illinois, but you should check with your local unemployment office to be sure.

      My husband was collecting unemployment insurance in Illinois last year, and he had to call the hotline a few times for various things and always found them very helpful.

    2. Thank you! So when the 25 weeks run out was there a gap in pay at all until the extended kick in?

    3. When my husband was collecting last year, there was no gap in pay between regular UI benefits and extended benefits.

  9. I am in Washington DC, I was told when it started that I had 13 weeks in tier 3? however after week 9 they said I am ineligible to file a weekly claim. So is that the way it is? left us high and dry.

    1. Unfortunately, that is the way it is. Weeks available in Tier 3 went down to 9 from 14 starting in September. So anyone who had not yet received all of their Tier 3 weeks was just out of luck.

  10. Hello, I have lost my job as of today due to the loss of a Govt. contract. I am 60 years old and have never been without a job since I was 16. This is all new to me. I don't imagine there are a lot of people interested in hiring a 60 year old and I know the job market I am qualified for, and it is grim. I have been on the hiring end of this for the past 22 years and I know where the jobs are...and there aren't many. Anyway, my question is... as of this time, Dec 2012, what is the total number of weeks of benefits I can expect to receive in the state of Florida? I have been online all morning and it is all so confusing. I haven't even filed my claim yet. I have a few weeks vacation to use up before I file. Can you help? Thanks so much!

    1. They have stopped the extended benifits in all States except NY. I am in the same boat you're in excet I am 50 and its tough out here. To answer your question about Florida you have 26 weeks of unemployment.

    2. I'm very sorry, Anonymous in Florida... My husband and I are also 60-ish and we know that things are glum for those of us who are no longer spring chickens. However, the job market is getting better and the unemployment rate everywhere is going down. But that still doesn't mean that there aren't hundreds of thousands of people who aren't struggling or who aren't going to struggle.

      Actually, according to the information in the article from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, you only have 23 weeks of regular state unemployment available, thanks to the governor's efforts to get all of those lazy people back to work-- (Yes, sarcasm.) The same governor who wasted the taxpayer's money by drug testing welfare recipients which resulted in lawsuits and only a tiny percentage of positive drug tests.

      Unless unemployment benefits are extended as part of the ongoing Fiscal Cliff negotiations, you will only get those 23 weeks.

    3. To the other anonymous person:

      This is the first time since I was a yung'un when I wished I were a bit older. I'm counting the months until I qualify for early Social Security next year.

  11. Can you explain requalificatipn in NJ? I worked from 11/11-4/12. I only received 13 weeks unemployment, I filed that claim in April of 2012. I am working now but gave heard rumors that the person I replaced is looking to come back so I may be laid off. I have only been there for 5 weeks. I was told if I put a claim in in April I would be able to collect from my first job? Is this correct?

    1. Each state is somewhat different in terms of requalification. However, I believe that all states use the "quarter" system to determine eligibility for unemployment benefits. Many use the "last four out of five closed quarters" to determine how much someone might be eligible for in unemployment benefits. If that was true for New Jersey, you would have a better chance of getting benefits if, assuming you are laid off in the next few weeks or days, you waited until April to file. Here's a link that you can play with at the New Jersey unemployment website: Add a quarter and "play" with the January file date as April and see what that might do.

      New Jersey unemployment calculator

  12. I have been unemployed since 2009, I have been recieved unemployement compensation and have extended my weeks, still looking for a job, changed my career recieved AA degree still no job, still in college working on my BS degree. I told that more tiers was given, would I be eliably to recieved the extend tiers even though its been since 2011. that I have extended my regular tiers.

    1. Are you saying that you are still on unemployment benefits and you have been since 2009? No state currently offers more than 73 weeks. Have you worked part-time? Did you not collect when you were in school? Could you please explain your situation in a bit more detail? Anybody who started receiving unemployment benefits in 2009 and received them straight through exhausted those years ago. Nobody has ever been able to receive more than 99 weeks (not quite two years) straight of unemployment. Again, some people who started and stopped, worked part-time or temporary jobs may have started a new benefit year on a new claim.

  13. My last day of full time employment was on 11/18/2011. Some time in the beginning of 2012 I began working part time until the end of September 2012, while drawing unemployment. IDES has screwed up my account and has sent me a very large bill that they want repaid. How many weeks of unemployment am I legally entitled to in the state of Illinois under the extension? I have been told that I am not entitled to the funds that I received when they used the alternate base period. I am so confused and worried. Do not know what to do.

    1. Hi Anonymous.. I'm not really sure that I can help you with this. Did you inform IDES that you were working part-time and did you tell them how much you were making? Were your unemployment benefits reduced while you were working part-time? If you didn't tell IDES that you were working, you will have to pay back pretty IDES quite a bit, but I don't know if they recalculate for the weeks that you were working or if you have to pay back all of the benefits that you received when you were working part-time.

      You mention an alternate base period. Your original base period started in late November or early December of 2011... When was your alternate base period established? Why did they establish an alternate base period for you?

      If you had collected straight through, you would be entitled to 63 weeks of unemployment benefits, which would be ending for you just about now. The recent extensions did not add any weeks; it just extended the number of available weeks for people who hadn't yet exhausted all of last year's you. If they established a new base period for you, it would depend on what you earned and when you worked.

      I'm sorry I can't be of more help... Even if you told IDES that you were working part-time and you gave them the correct information, if they gave you full checks instead of reduced checks (in other words, they made the mistake, not you), you will still have to pay back the extra money that they gave you.

      If you can come back and post more specific information, perhaps I can give you a better idea of what IDES can and can't do.

  14. Molly, can you confirm that Illinois has triggered "on" to tier 4 EUC08 benefits? Do you know how many weeks those benefits are? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ally.. I just got home and saw your comment.. .Let me check it out on a few different websites and get back to you in 15-30 minutes.

    2. Yep.. I found the "official" notice. The current week is the first week in which Illinois claimants can claim benefits under tier 4.

      Illinois' trigger value has met the 9.0% trigger threshold, establishing an eligibility period in Tier 4 of EUC08.

      "Based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 29, 2013, the three month average, seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate in Illinois has met the 9.0% trigger threshold to trigger "on" in Tier 4 of EUC08. This triggers Illinois "on" Tier 4 of the EUC08 program. The week beginning April 14, 2013, will be the first week in which EUC08 claimants in Illinois who have exhausted Tier 3, and are otherwise eligible, can establish Tier 4 eligibility."

      I found that here:

      Unemployment Weekly: Changes in State Eligibility

    3. Thank you! Thanks so much keeping us all up to date and posting all this info. Love your site!

    4. You're welcome, Ally. I appreciate your note!

      Weeks of availability for six states (Illinois, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Alabama) have changed.. I put up a quick post with all of those changes listed.

      People looking for information on April updates can find them below:

      Changes in eligibility for unemployment benefits as of April 19th

  15. middle molly my regular hrs will be cut in half soon due to a large cut back. how many weeks of unemployment will I get while working part time in PA

    1. Hi Anonymous...I tried to find an answer for you.. It appears you can collect something if you have been cut down to part-time due to no fault of your own, but I couldn't find anything about the number of weeks you can collect.

      I did find these links, but it is unclear if you will be eligible for anything past the first 26 weeks. I believe you will have to contact the Pennsylvania unemployment people to see if they have the answer to your question.

      Can I work part-time and receive benefits in Pennsylvania?

      Part-time benefits in Pennsylvania

  16. I lost my job of 21 years in March of this year. I have the misfortune of living in Illinois but worked in Missouri. The benefit amount is about half as are the amount of weeks to receive them. I am 56 years old and have been looking literally everyday since my job loss. It's not looking good. I have noticed too that a lot of online applications ask for your last salary. Since I had worked there 21 years and received raises every year I had a very good salary. No one wants to come close to that. When (if) I do get a job, I know I can expect to make half if not less. It's depressing.

    1. Anonymous, I'm very sorry for the situation that you are in.. It's tough. I'm in Chicago, and, while all of the young people that I know (mostly recent college graduates) now have jobs, most of the people that I know who are older and lost their jobs are struggling in various ways. Some have working spouses and/or were able to stash away substantial amounts of money over the years; many have aged into Social Security or early SS since things came crashing down 5 years ago. This is the first time in my life (since I was a kid) that I'm glad I'm a bit older. I think people in their 50's/perhaps upper 40's like you are having the hardest time: They aren't anywhere close to being ready to retire; many still have kids at home, they own homes so they can't pick up and move...and they are having a very hard time finding work for any decent salary.

      You are right; because Missouri has a lower unemployment rate than Illinois, people unemployed who worked in Missouri get less benefits than those who worked in Illinois.

      I don't know exactly where you are or how far you are able/willing to drive, but in downstate Illinois, Springfield and Champaign/Urbana areas have the lowest unemployment rates. I don't have any good ideas for you; the job situation for people who are older is still really difficult.

    2. Thanks for your feedback. I live in Illinois approx. 12 miles east of St. Louis. Naturally, all the good jobs are in St. Louis. And you are correct in that my husband does work and is able to put me on his health insurance. That's huge! But our income is literally cut in half. So according to your chart I will receive benefits a total of 41 weeks? Is that including Federal?

    3. Sorry, I didn't see your reply earlier.. Yes, the 41 weeks includes the Federal EUC benefits (The "tiers".) And that's it. How are you doing? Any luck so far? I do know people who have worked temp jobs that have turned into something permanent, but there are no guarantees, of course.

  17. This is very informative, thanks. I just finished Tier 4 in Illinois, so just to be very sure, I will not get extended benefits (13 weeks/20 weeks). I have read that the federal government will fund EB 100%, this is so confusing, still unemployed with a great possibility in the works and need benefits a little longer. Could states trigger back on voluntarily with EB?

    1. My husband was receiving Extended Benefits in Illinois last year, about 14 months ago, when EB stopped due to Illinois not having a high enough unemployment rate to trigger back on to EB. He got about 10 weeks of EB and then that was that.

      EB is controlled by a somewhat complex formula established by the feds that involves a 3 year "look back" period. Illinois cannot do anything about this portion of the law, so it is unlikely that Illinois will trigger back on to EB. EUC and EB are funded by the federal government, as far as I know, but they also make up the laws under which states can gain access to these programs.

  18. why can't I get tier 4 euc

    1. What state are you in?

      The only states now that have an unemployment rate over 9% and offer Tier 4 (an extra 10 weeks) of unemployment compensation are California, Illinois, Nevada, Rhode Island and the territory of Puerto Rico.

      While North Carolina has an unemployment rate of 9%, it no longer qualifies for EUC because its regular state unemployment benefits are too stingy, and the feds will only give EUC to states that comply with its guidelines. The North Carolina state legislature, dominated by Republicans, has decided not to comply with federal guidelines and therefore, tens of thousands of North Carolina citizens who are trying to find work are being cut off from benefits.

      I hope you are not in North Carolina.

  19. Hi Molly!

    I am on a manual reach back to recover some remaining EUC from a 11/2012-11/2012 claim to be applied to a new 2013 EUC claim. Before they can set me up for the current year, they have to exhaust the previous years Federal funding, if I am in that part of the program for benefits. I was told it was being reduced by 18.2% for Colorado. The question I have is, why are they reducing a previous years funds for EUC from a manual reach back before the budget cuts legislation took place in 2013?? They already received the funds and they are simply exhausting them. How can they go back and penalize me for a new law even exist when they received the funds they are giving me?

    1. I agree that this doesn't make any sense, as you are going to get some compensation on an old claim. But there are some very strange rules with unemployment compensation; unfortunately, it sounds as if you are getting caught in those rules. I'm not sure, however, that they have actually received those EUC funds that you earned last year.

      After they use up the old weeks, will you start with a fresh slate of regular state weeks? Or will you go directly to EUC?

      I'll poke around and see if I can find an explanation in the morning.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  20. My husband was laid off in December. He just received his last unemployment benefit (26 weeks) at the end of June. He called to inquire about the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and was told that he didn't qualify because a formula they use to calculate benefits (quarter 2 multiplied by a number added to another number from the next quarter) wasn't high enough to qualify. So confusing! We have not received any information in the mail regarding this nor could I find anything about a formula after an exhaustive search. We live in Illinois with one of the highest unemployment rates how can he not qualify? What information do you have about a formula? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Anonymous...

      I do know that not all people who get regular state unemployment benefits automatically qualify for EUC Benefits. Was your husband laid off from a temporary or a part-time job? Most people who were working full-time qualify for EUC, but many people working only part-time or a temp job won't qualify.

      I looked around to see if I could find any specifics, but I could not. If you did not understand or were not satisfied with the answer you got from IDES, you may want to call them back... Another person on the help line might be able to give you better or more clear information... Or you may want to take a trip to your local IDES office and talk to someone in person.

      I'm sorry that you are struggling with this.

  21. I live in SC and have almost used up Tier III of EUC. I lost my job of 6 years nearly a year ago and have not been able to find anything, despite the fact that I have a Bachelor's in Business and am working on a Master's in Accounting. I feel like all of this schooling, not to mention the cost of going, is getting me no where. But my question is, will I be done with getting any kind of unemployment once I have used all of Tier III? I read a little on EB. Is that available? If I do not find a job within the next few weeks, I do not know what I will do. I am a single mother of two children and have no one who is in the position to help me financially.

    1. First of all, I'm sorry that I didn't get back to you sooner. Sometimes I don't see questions and comments for a week or two.

      From what I can gather, South Carolina does offer Tier 3 EUC, as you mentioned, but no Tier 4 EUC. EB is no longer available anywhere; it was phased out over the past year. Also, people who get unemployment in South Carolina now only have 20 initial weeks of regular state unemployment, thanks to Republicans running the state down there. Most states still have 26 weeks of regular state unemployment.

      If you have used up all of your weeks of unemployment and still haven't found a job, I would suggest you go to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and find out if you are eligible for any kind of welfare program or at least food stamps. Here's the link:

      South Carolina Health and Human Services

      Good luck to you. Last year, we also faced the end of unemployment benefits with no jobs and very depleted assets. It's a very miserable condition to be in.

  22. Is Tier 4 still in avilabe in Illinois?

    1. Yes. New state unemployment rates will be announced next week. Illinois' unemployment rate would have to drop to approximately 8.7% for Tier 4 to go away in Illinois. IF that happened, it would take effect in October, and people who were able to move to Tier 4 before that time would get all of the Tier 4 weeks.

  23. Do you know how the "weeks" are calculated? I filed for unemployment on the actual day I lost my job (March 21, 2013) I did not received a payment until 4 weeks later due to 1st week being waiting week and the other 3 for having earned too much from my termination paycheck which included unpaid vacation and other monies.. Should I start counting weeks when first paid, or when first filed? Thank you!

    1. You would have to check with your state unemployment office to be certain, but I believe that the "weeks" means the number of weeks that you actually were paid.


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