Extended Benefits – States Are Temporarily Increasing the Look-back Period in Order to Keep Individuals Eligible for Benefits
a result of recent declines in state unemployment rates, many individuals may soon
no longer be eligible to receive extended benefit payments. Under current law, extended
benefits are available when a state’s unemployment rate is above 6.5%, and is at least
10% higher than it was at the same time during at least one of the past two calendar
years. This second provision is referred to as a “two year look-back”. Unless both
conditions are met, extended benefits are not available.
many state unemployment rates now hovering in the 9% range, extended benefits will
soon become unavailable, as the current level of unemployment will no longer be 10%
higher than it was at the same point in time in either of the past two years.
The Tax Relief, UI Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, signed into law
in December 2010, permits states to amend their UI laws and temporarily modify their
provisions concerning extended benefit “triggers”. The temporary modification involves
comparing current unemployment rates to those in the corresponding period during the
preceding three years, rather than the two years allowed under permanent extended
benefit law. Making this change would enable states to meet the “10% higher” condition
required for payment of extended benefits.
states have already enacted “three-year look-back” legislation for their extended
benefit programs and they include the following: CA, CO, DC, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY,
MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, RI, SC, TX, WA, and WV. Enacting this type
of legislation should enable individuals in these states, who have not exceeded their
maximum number of weeks of eligibility, to continue to receive unemployment benefits
through the end of the year.
states may still take action as this temporary “three year look-back” opportunity
will remain available until December 31st, 2011.
that enact legislation will not be increasing costs for employers, as extended benefit
payments will continue to be funded entirely by the federal government through December
31st, 2011 as well.
Manager, Unemployment Cost Management Services
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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