BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Fewer Weeks of Benefits Available to Unemployed Workers in 24 States
Starting this week, workers in 24 states who exhaust their regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits before they find a job will have fewer weeks of additional federal assistance available through the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. This cut in EUC benefits resulted from the that continued EUC payments through the end of the year but changed the formula for determining the number of weeks of benefits. As a result:
- Unemployed workers receiving benefits in the 11 states with unemployment rates below 6 percent — Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming — who cannot find work in 26 weeks (the duration of regular state benefits in most states) now will be eligible for only 20 additional weeks of benefits instead of the 34 weeks that EUC previously provided (reducing their total number of weeks of UI to 46, from 60).
- Workers receiving UI benefits in the eight states with unemployment rates between 6 and 7 percent — Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, West Virginia, and Wisconsin — who have been looking for a job for 46 weeks will be eligible to receive only 14 more weeks of benefits, instead of 27 (reducing their total number of weeks to 60, from 73).
- Those receiving UI benefits in the five states with unemployment rates between 8.5 and 9 percent — Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Oregon — who have been looking for work for 60 weeks will now be eligible to receive only 13 more weeks of benefits, instead of 19 weeks (reducing their total number of weeks to 73, from 79).
(Just to be clear, there aren’t any changes for workers receiving UI in states with unemployment rates above 7 percent but below 8.5 percent, or above 9 percent.) These changes come on top of the phasing out of the Extended Benefits (EB) program, which provided either 13 or 20 weeks of additional benefits to workers who exhausted their EUC benefits before finding a job. As I explained previously, nearly half a million people lost benefits this year when EB payments ended in 28 states (payments will end in three of the four states still eligible for EB after the first week of July). The maps below show the drop in the number of weeks of UI available to unemployed workers in most states since the beginning of the year. (See this brief paper from our Policy Basics series for a weekly update of the number of weeks of UI available to workers in each state.) Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll discuss these changes — and those to come later in the year — in greater detail.