ETA News Release: [02/26/2009]
Contact Name: Suzy Bohnert or Jennifer Kaplan
Phone Number: (202) 693-4665 or x5052
Release Number: 09-0196-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor announces boost in weekly unemployment benefit amounts
Recovery Act also extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation
WASHINGTON Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced a weekly increase in unemployment compensation, as provided for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted on Feb. 17.
The new temporary Federal Additional Compensation program will provide a $25 weekly increase in unemployment compensation for eligible workers. These extra benefits are 100 percent federally-funded.
The recovery legislation also extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which was scheduled to expire on Aug. 27, 2009. "The program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2009, for new applications, with a 'phase-out' period ending May 31, 2010," said Secretary Solis. "Both the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and the Federal Additional Compensation programs provide temporary financial support to unemployed workers to help them pay for basic necessities such as food, clothing, medicine and gasoline while they look for new jobs."
To qualify for these benefits, unemployed workers must first be determined eligible for unemployment benefits by the appropriate state workforce agency. Workers must have earned sufficient wages from prior recent employment and have been separated from employment for non-disqualifying reasons (as determined under state law). Eligible workers must also be able to work and be available for work while receiving these unemployment benefits.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have executed agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor to administer these programs. States will begin to make the extra payments as early as the week of March 1, 2009, for weeks of unemployment effective Feb. 22, 2009.
For information on unemployment compensation, visit http://www.dol.gov.
Note: A fact sheet follows below.
EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION AND FEDERAL ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION UNDER AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08) Program Extension
- The EUC08 program, created on June 30, 2008, provides up to 20 weeks of federally-funded benefits to eligible unemployed workers who have collected all their regular state unemployment benefits. An additional 13 weeks of EUC are available in states with high levels of unemployment.
- The EUC08 program was scheduled to expire on Aug. 27, 2009. The recovery legislation, Public Law Number 111-5, which was enacted on Feb. 17, 2009, extends the expiration date of the EUC08 program to May 31, 2010.
- The period during which an individual may establish eligibility for EUC08 is extended from March 31, 2009, to the week of unemployment ending on or before Dec. 31, 2009, and the "phase-out" or expiration date of the program is extended from Aug. 27, 2009 to May 31, 2010.
- The recovery legislation does not provide additional weeks of benefits for individuals who have or will exhaust their EUC08 benefits.
Federal Additional Compensation (FAC)
- The recovery legislation also created a new FAC program that provides a $25 supplement that is payable to individuals receiving state unemployment compensation (UC) or Federal UC. The $25 supplement does not apply to state-financed Additional Compensation programs.
- All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands executed agreements with the secretary of labor to administer this new program on behalf of the federal government on or before Feb. 21, 2009; therefore, the program is effective Feb. 22, 2009, in all states/jurisdictions.
- States are modifying their automated benefit payment systems to implement FAC. Many states will begin to make payments during the week of March 1, 2009, for weeks of unemployment effective Feb. 22, 2009. However, due to the complexity of changing automated systems, some states have advised that they may implement later, making payments retroactively.
States will calculate the individual's weekly benefit amount and make any adjustments in accordance with state law to account for any earnings, and any other deductions (for example, severance and retirement/pension payments).
- The $25 supplement is taxable. Therefore, states will include the total benefits received including the $25 increase(s) in issuing a 1099G to claimants.
- The $25 supplement/payments will be paid from federal general revenues. States will receive administrative costs associated with implementing the $25 add-on.