The American Taxpayer Relief Act, which became law late Wednesday, extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program through January 1, 2014. The federal benefits were slated to expire at the end of 2012 with claimants receiving their last payment the first week of January.
EUC08 is a federally-funded program providing unemployment benefits to approximately 30,000 Tennesseans who have exhausted the first 26 weeks of state benefits (maximum). The legislation only extends the deadline to receive existing federal benefits and does not add additional weeks. Tennessee claimants are currently allowed a maximum of 26 weeks of state benefits and an additional 37 weeks of federal benefits.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development must still receive authorization from the USDOL to pay federal EUC08 claims. While the USDOL expects to have authorizations in place to provide a seamless transition, a delay of a week or more is possible. A retroactive payment would then be made to make up for lost weeks before resuming regular weekly payments.
Those presently receiving federal benefits should continue their weekly certification that notifies the department by phone or Internet they are still unemployed. If claimants stop their certification, they will have to contact the claims center to verify their unemployment status and could face a delay in their benefit resumption. Claimants should also continue to complete at least two work searches per week in order to meet the requirements for receiving federal benefits.
Federal extension benefits are designed to provide further income support to eligible unemployed workers who have been out of work for a long period of time. The current legislation makes December 28, 2013, the deadline for filing a first federal extension of benefits, once a regular UI claim runs out. The deadline for filing a second, or third federal extension of benefits is also December 28, 2013, once the prior level of extension runs out.
Automation helps most claimants to transition seamlessly into your first federal extension or into the next available federal extension as long as you remain otherwise eligible. Claimants are notified by mail each time they transition from one benefit program to another (ex. An “Entitlement to Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)” is received when a claimant completes Tennessee’s Unemployment Compensation program and transitions to the first tier of federal benefits called EUC08). A claimant is also notified if a program is expiring. It is the claimant’s responsibility to keep track of the weeks they have available to them. Information about your account can be seen by logging into your account at https://ui.tn.gov/Pages/PersonalInformation.aspx.
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As with regular state unemployment benefits, individuals receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work as a condition of eligibility. In addition, all claimants collecting on federal extensions will be required to conduct two documented work searches each week and maintain a work search log provided by the state. Employers will be randomly contacted to verify the claimant was not fraudulently listing jobs for which they had applied.
Work search activity for each week must be recorded and submitted to the TDLWD for review upon request. Failure to return the completed work search log as directed, or returning an incomplete work search log, will result in a disqualification of benefits.
An online weekly work search form is available at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd or at your local Tennessee Career Center.
In addition to work search documentation, claimants colleting on federal extenions will be required to attend Re-employment services at a Tennessee Career Center. Re-employment services will include an orientation, eligibility review, assessment of skills, participation in job service workshops, and commitment to a work search plan. Claimants who transition into the first and second tiers of federal benefits will be required to participate.
Claimants will be contacted by mail with Re-employment services instructions on requirements to continue receiving unemployment benefits. You may update your address information at https://ui.tn.gov/Pages/PersonalInformation.aspx.
Required work search contacts include: