Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 113th Congress

Source: Julie M. Whittaker, Katelin P. Isaacs, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, R42936, January 25, 2013

The 113th Congress may face a number of issues related to currently available unemployment insurance programs: Unemployment Compensation (UC), temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08), and Extended Benefits (EB). With the national unemployment rate decreasing but still high, the weekly demand for regular and extended unemployment benefits continues at high levels. Congress deliberated multiple times on whether to extend the authorization for several key temporary unemployment insurance provisions in the 112th Congress and may do so again in the 113th Congress. The signing of P.L. 112-240 on January 2, 2013, now means that the EUC08 program expires the week ending on or before January 1, 2014. The 100% federal financing of the EB program expires on December 31, 2013. In addition, the option for states to use three-year EB trigger lookbacks (the period of time considered in determining an active EB program within a state) expires the week ending on or before December 31, 2013. The 113th Congress will face these expirations as well as likely unemployment insurance policy issues, including unemployment insurance financing. Among other items, policy discussions may focus on the appropriate length and availability conditions of unemployment benefits. This report provides a brief overview of the three unemployment insurance programs—UC, EUC08, and EB—that may currently pay benefits to eligible unemployed workers. This report will be updated when relevant legislation in the 113th Congress is introduced.