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TitleFAQ: U.S. - What is the difference between unemployment benefit programs?
AuthorMatthew Baldwin

What is the difference between the U.S. Extended Benefits and Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs?


Initial unemployment benefits are paid by states.  After eligibility for state benefits expires, there are two federal programs: Extended Benefits (1970) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). Monetary benefits paid by the two programs are identical; they differ by funding source and enabling legislation.

Mnemonic Description
  Persons claiming UI benefits, (#, NSA)
XUNEBW.US Extended Benefits (EB)
XUNFDW.US Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)

Created in 1970, the Extended Benefits (EB) program provides relief during periods of high unemployment. Typically EB pays 13 weeks of additional UI benefits; some states issue an additional seven when unemployment is very high.  EB is activated when either the insured unemployment rate or the total unemployment rate surpasses a state-specific threshold. Usually this program is 50% state-funded and 50% federally-funded, though federal legislation being discussed now would make this 100% federally-funded as was the case before December 1.  Time series XUNEBW.US counts the number of persons receiving benefits under EB.

Enacted in June 2008, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program is a separate response to the rapid unwinding of the labor market.  Initially, EUC offered 13 additional weeks of benefits but has been expanded repeatedly; there are now four tiers offering a potential 53 weeks. This program is 100% federally-funded and, like EB, is currently under debate in Washington. EUC will eventually sunset without legislative action, whereas EB will not.  Its enrollment is measured by XUNFDW.US.

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