[2013 Unemployment Benefits Extension – January 2013 update] Congress and the Obama administration have reached an agreement that will extend federal unemployment insurance benefits (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) into 2013 following the latest round of fiscal cliff negotiations. This means newly unemployed and those with time left on their unemployment benefits will continue to receive aid in 2013.
However the current deal legislation only extends the deadline for receiving benefits to December 28th 2013 and does not expand the UI benefit duration (detailed in previous updates below), meaning those who have already exceeded the maximum allowable benefits (up to 73 weeks in some states) will NOT be eligible to receive additional benefits.
If you are already receiving benefits no further action should be required on your part. For new applicants or those looking for alternative options check with your state unemployment agency/commission which manages both the federal and state unemployment benefits.
One of the topics that gets a lot of interest on this site is around unemployment benefits and particularly their extension into 2012 and 2013. Federal benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program were extended earlier this year until December 2012, albeit for a reduced duration and based on a states unemployment rate. However for 2013 there is currently no legislation in place to extend benefits for newly unemployed workers past the state standard 26 week limit. Check your state’s employment department or agency website for state specific unemployment benefit rules and regulations.
The last payable ending date for all federal extensions is December 29, 2012. Unless Congress changes the law, no further federal extension benefits (Tiers 1 – 4) can be paid for any weeks spent unemployed after this date even if someone may have a balance remaining on a federal extension claim. More than five million Americans have been unemployed for longer than six months, and more than two million will lose access to federal unemployment insurance if the program lapses in December. In fact a number of unemployed people have already started receiving notices of their federal unemployment benefits extension termination.
With the current focus on the fiscal cliff, Congress and the re-elected Obama administration have not spent much time on any new 2013 unemployment extension legislation. Which is worrying because a recent Economic Policy Institute study estimated that a failure to extend the federal EUC benefits would significantly hamper economic growth and cost the economy the equivalent of 400,000 jobs. In fact the study also found that a 2013 unemployment extension would provide a bigger boost to economic growth and create more jobs than an extension of the high-income Bush tax rates.
[Latest Update as of 12-23-2012] Despite a break down in recent fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama is pushing for further extensions (14 weeks is the number being rumored) in unemployment benefits. The cost of even this relatively minor extension will in the billions of dollars, which is causing Republicans to balk at even more government spending on entitlements. Still, there is hope that Congress can reach an interim deal to prevent millions of Americans losing their benefits in the new year.
Assuming Congress can reach some sort of agreement on UI benefits, they can back date checks so that you still get the money (there may be a delay). However if they cannot reach a deal, the benefits will stop on Dec 29, and you will have to contact your state unemployment office for options. Also, please avoid scam email/sites that promise to get you benefits, if you give them a whole lot of personal and financial information. No one, other than your state or federal government can provide unemployment benefits. Anyone that promises otherwise is just trying to steal your money.