Unemployment Insurance: Available Unemployment Benefits and Legislative Activity Page: 2 of 29
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Unemployment Insurance: Available Unemployment Benefits and Legislative Activity
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
income support through the payment of regular UC benefits. UC benefits may be extended for
additional weeks at the state level by the Extended Benefit (EB) program if certain economic
situations within the state exist. In July 2008, a new temporary unemployment benefit, the
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, began. EUC08 now provides up to
an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits. In addition, if certain economic conditions
exist within the state, a second tier of EUC08 benefits may be available for up to an additional 13
weeks of EUC08 benefits. Certain groups of workers who lose their jobs because of international
competition may qualify for additional or supplemental 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 to receive UC benefits and if
their unemployment may be directly attributed to a declared major disaster.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P.L. 111-5 (the 2009 stimulus package),
contains several provisions affecting unemployment benefits. The stimulus package will increase
unemployment benefits by $25 per week through December 2009. The supplemental $25 per
week benefit will be available to all individuals receiving regular unemployment, Extended
Benefits (EB), Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) benefits, Trade Adjustment
Act (TAA) programs, and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and will be grandfathered
for individuals who are receiving benefits under one of these programs in the last week of
December 2009. The stimulus package also extends the temporary EUC08 program through end-
2009, to be financed by the U.S. Treasury through general revenues. The stimulus package
provides for 100% federal financing of the EB program through January 1, 2010, and allows
states the option of temporarily easing EB eligibility requirements. The stimulus package
suspends income taxation on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009. In
addition, states would not owe or accrue interest, through December 2010, on federal loans to
states for the payment of unemployment benefits.
Finally, the 2009 stimulus package provides 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. In addition, the stimulus package would transfer a total of $500 million to the states for
administering their unemployment programs. (For more information on unemployment provisions
in the stimulus package, please see CRS Report R40368, Unemployment Insurance Provisions in
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.)
The President's 2010 budget outline suggests that legislation is needed to make the UC system
more responsive to changing economic conditions, with a focus on the EB program. In a letter
transmitting the Views and Estimates of the House Committee on Ways and Means on aspects of
the federal budget for FY2010, the Committee states that it will continue to monitor the
effectiveness of the stimulus package (P.L. 111-5), including unemployment insurance programs.
Congressional Research Service
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Unemployment Insurance: Available Unemployment Benefits and Legislative Activity, report, April 2, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808912/m1/2/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.