Extended Unemployment Benefits
Extended unemployment benefits typically become available through a state unemployment office when an unusually large number of employees in the state are experiencing job loss for longer than average.
Congress has passed a new law that extends unemployment benefit extensions through 2013. See the blog post "Unemployment Benefit Extensions 2013" for more information.
Extended unemployment benefits are sometimes referred to as emergency unemployment benefits, either generically or when confused with Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC).
The confusion likely arises from the benefit extensions that the Supplemental Appropriation Act of 2008 authorized during the Great Recession, in the form of Emergency Unemployment Compensation referred to as EUC08 (or EUC 08 or EUC 2008) for short.
Extended unemployment benefits are separate from EUC08, but news reports on the dizzying array of laws, rules and regulations created to deal with the recessionary high unemployment rate tied the two programs together often enough to be perceived as one. Subsequently, the combination of EUC08 plus extended unemployment benefits is sometimes generically referred to as emergency unemployment benefits or simply as extended unemployment benefits alone.
The original extended unemployment benefits are ordinarily authorized in 13-week increments, which are then added to 26 weeks of standard state unemployment benefits.* In times of severe unemployment, extended benefits might be authorized more than once or for more than 13 weeks; for example, legislation spurred by the Great Recession authorized extended benefits more than once for up to 20 weeks, which were then added to the weeks ("tiers") of EUC08 also authorized.
To become eligible for extended unemployment benefits, unemployed workers must first exhaust 26 weeks of standard benefits and then all tiers of EUC08 available in their work states. (For more about the tiers, see "Unemployment Benefit Extensions 2013".) The weekly compensation amount for extended benefits and EUC08 is the same as standard unemployment compensation, which varies by state and eligibility.
When unemployed workers potentially become eligible for a tier of EUC08 or extended unemployment benefits, state unemployment offices are required to notify them. The workers might then have to file claims to determine their final eligibility or they might automatically become eligible by simply continuing to submit the required reports, such as their job searching activities. The rules vary by state.
Self-employed individuals, such as independent contractors (ICs), are not eligible for extended unemployment benefits or EUC08, the same as they're not eligible for standard benefits either. However, if self-employed individuals moonlight as employees or vice versa, then they might be eligible for the three types of benefits. They might also be eligible for the three types retroactively, if employers misclassified them as ICs and it comes to light.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a special Federal program that provides unemployment benefits after major disasters. Both employees and self-employed individuals might be eligible for DUA.
Extended unemployment benefits are authorized by the Extended Benefits (EB) program nicknamed FED-ED, short for Federal-State Extended Duration Benefits. The Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 launched the program. Ordinarily, the EB program is 50/50 federally and state funded, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and subsequent laws have temporarily provided federal funding of 100 percent.
States may voluntarily launch their own extended unemployment benefits programs that supplement FED-ED; for example, California has under the Miller-Collier Act and refers to its program as CAL-ED, short for California Extended Duration Benefits.
If the state unemployment office denies you EUC08 or extended unemployment benefits, if available in your work state, then you'll likely have the right to appeal the denial. To do so, follow the instructions from the state unemployment office. You'll also have the right to hire an attorney to represent you during the appeal process, especially because you might have to appear in a hearing before an administrative law judge. In fact, the appeals board or the judge might recommend it for your own good.
Employers may not rightfully retaliate against employees who file claims for and collect unemployment benefits, appeal benefit denials or otherwise exercise their employee rights under unemployment laws. Subsequently, you might be entitled to file a lawsuit against an employer for violating your rights. Consult an attorney about that.