Recently, a lot of people have been asking me about the current status of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“EUC”) program. The EUC originally started in 2008, and provided up to 13 weeks of federally funded EUC benefits to unemployed individuals who had exhausted their state unemployment benefits. Since its inception, the EUC has been extended several times, and additional weeks of EUC have been provided.
In Hawaii, unemployed individuals could have received up to 47 weeks of EUC benefits, in addition to their state unemployment benefits (for a grand total of 99 weeks). There are limitations, however, on who can receive such EUC benefits. Most importantly, anybody who files a current claim for unemployment will not qualify for EUC benefits, unless the program is extended again.
As a bit of background, the EUC benefits were released in “tiers.” Tier I provided for 20 weeks of EUC benefits, Tier II provided for 14 weeks of EUC benefits, and Tier III provided for 13 weeks of EUC benefits. To have qualified for Tier I benefits, the unemployed individual must have received and exhausted state unemployment benefits back in 2008. To qualify for Tier II benefits, the individual must have received and exhausted Tier I benefits on or before April 5, 2010. To qualify for Tier III benefits, the individual must have exhausted Tier II benefits on or before April 5, 2010.
For those individuals who are currently receiving EUC benefits, they may continue to do so – within their current Tier level – until September 4, 2010. They will not, however, be able to move up to the next Tier level. After September 4, 2010, all EUC benefits will be cut off, unless the benefits are extended again.