Unemployment benefits are provided by the states, so the process of getting an unemployment benefits extension varies from state to state. Additionally, there are often two flavors of unemployment benefits - one directly from the state, and one administered by the state but coming from the federal government. While the process will differ, there are some similarities in the process across the country.
Gathering Personal Information for State Unemployment Benefits
For each and every unemployment program you will need to gather and file documents attesting to your work history, reason for unemployment, reason for needing an extension, identity and proof of citizenship or legal presence. Once you have all this information, simply go to your state's unemployment website and look up the process of filing. Some states have an online process while others require you to print out and mail hard copies of all the necessary documents. For more information, call the employment security department of your state's employment administration.
Federal Unemployment Benefits
The federal government provides extended unemployment benefits depending on your state's unemployment rate. Known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), these benefits are organized in tiers. They are provided in addition to the about 26 weeks in standard state unemployment benefits. States will, of course, vary in terms of how many weeks of unemployment they offer.
Tier 1 for EUC is 14 extra weeks and is available for all states, regardless of how high your state's unemployment rate is. Tier 2 for EUC is an additional 14 weeks and is given to individuals in states with an unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher. Tier 3 for EUC is an additional 9 weeks and available to individuals in states with an unemployment rate of 7 percent or higher. Finally, Tier 4 for EUC is an additional 10 weeks and is available for people living in a state with 9 percent unemployment rate or higher.
Even in addition to EUC, there is a program called EB, or Emergency Benefits, which may provide 13 additional weeks of income for certain populations deemed to be hard-hit by unemployment. An additional 7 weeks are provided for areas that are especially depressed. This listing varies on a regular basis with information available at the Department of Labor website.
Waiting for the Mail
Once you've filed for an unemployment benefits extension, wait to receive your acceptance in the mail. You'll get paperwork attesting to that fact, and your checks will continue to come. Keep in mind that you may be audited on your unemployment status as well as your process of seeking another job at any time. Make sure that you keep records of your job search complete with the phone numbers of reliable contacts to verify the whole process.