What Are Extended Unemployment Benefits?

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If you have exhausted unemployment benefits or are worried about running out of them, there may be extended benefits funded by the federal government that will provide unemployment compensation beyond the maximum number of weeks provided by your state. These benefits are in place during times of high unemployment.

What Are Extended Benefits?

Extended benefits are additional weeks of unemployment compensation that are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic Extended Benefits (EB) program provides up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment compensation when a state is experiencing high unemployment.

In some states, there may be an additional 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of extended benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Unemployment Extended Benefits (EB) Program

The federal government may provide additional benefits to people who have exhausted unemployment benefits. There are additional weeks of federally funded Extended Benefits (EB) in states with high unemployment rates.

Unemployed workers are eligible for up to 13 or 20 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, depending on state laws, and the unemployment rate.

These benefits are paid through the state unemployment departments, and eligibility would start when all other benefits are exhausted. If you're eligible, your state unemployment office will notify you.

Eligibility requirements vary by state, so be sure to check the FAQ section of your state unemployment website for details.

Who Is Eligible for Extended Unemployment Benefits?

What benefits are unemployed workers eligible for? Ordinarily, workers in most states are eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, although some states provide less coverage. Montana is the only state that provides more with 28 weeks of unemployment benefits. 

In times of high unemployment, the federal government provides funds to the states to extend unemployment insurance programs for additional weeks of benefits beyond what each state offers.

Check with your state unemployment office for information on the availability of extended benefits in your location. You can find a directory of offices on the Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop Unemployment Benefits Finder.

How to Collect Extended Unemployment Benefits

How you will collect extended benefits will vary based on your state. In some states, you won’t need to do anything. You will automatically be paid for the additional weeks. In others, you may need to apply.

  • If you are currently collecting unemployment benefits:
    Benefits are provided through the state unemployment offices, and information on eligibility will be posted online. If you are eligible, you will be advised on how to collect when your regular unemployment benefits end. 
  • If you have exhausted unemployment benefits:
    Long-term unemployed workers who have already exhausted state unemployment benefits may also be eligible for additional weeks of benefits. Check with your state unemployment website for eligibility criteria in your location.

Unemployment Extended Benefits Compensation

If you're eligible for extended unemployment benefits, you will receive the same amount that you received for regular unemployment compensation. The amount of weeks you will receive depends on your state unemployment rate and may vary.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law.