Unemployment Benefits

What is the Federal State Extended Benefit program? Who is eligible for it?

Despite the end of the federal extended unemployment benefits, states can access support for the long-term jobless during periods of high unemployment.

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What is the Federal State Extended Benefit program? Who is eligible for it?
Olivier Douliery AFP

The end of the extra unemployment support enacted for covid-19, the 10 million people affected by the stripping of their benefits need to look for alternate avenues for support. Alongside the Child Tax Credit and enhanced SNAP benefits, there are other support for those who have had their lives turned upside-down by covid-19.

One of these is the Extended Benefits program, not to be confused with the benefits that ended over Labor Day. It is not as large as the $300 weekly payment from before, but could mean that those who have lost their jobs have a bit more help during the pandemic.

What is it?

Usually, States have a 26-week limit for unemployment benefits payments, but these ones have different time limits:

  • Arkansas provides up to 16 weeks of regular benefits,
  • Massachusetts provides up to 30 weeks except when a federal extended benefits program is in place (as it is now) or in periods of low unemployment (as was the case through February 2020), when the maximum drops to 26 weeks,
  • Michigan increased the maximum number of weeks to 26 earlier in the pandemic , but cut back to 20 weeks for new applicants in 2021,
  • Montana provides up to 28 weeks,
  • South Carolina and Missouri provide up to 20 weeks.

According to the US Department of Labor, the basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a State is experiencing high unemployment. Some States have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Who is eligible?

Extended Benefits are available to workers who have used up all the normal unemployment support. If your State has enacted the Extended Benefits program, then these payments will follow from the end of the PEUC and PUA payments.

Not everyone who is applicable for normal unemployment benefits are eligible for the Extended Benefits. There is a tool that can be accessed here to see what benefits you are eligible for, depending on what State you are living in.

Which States have them?

Every State could be eligible at one point or another, but must be above a threshold of unemployment rate. At time of publication, these are the states which have the Extended Benefits program enacted:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Texas

Only Connecticut and New Mexico are currently utilizing the full 20 weeks available.