After three months of elevated unemployment levels, unemployed individuals in Wisconsin will become eligible for up to nine additional weeks of federally funded unemployment compensation.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced Wednesday it had been notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of its resumed eligibility for tier three of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program.
That means beginning May 12, people who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits or EUC tier two benefits will be eligible for nine additional weeks of federal compensation. The change extends the maximum eligibility in Wisconsin from
54 weeks to 63 weeks.
The EUC program was created in 2008 and has four eligibility tiers for states. Every state is eligible for tier one assistance, which provides up to 14 weeks of benefits. Tier two, which provides an additional 14 weeks of benefits, is available to states with a three-month seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate of at least
6 percent. Tier three provides an extra nine weeks of consecutive benefits for states with a three-month seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate of at least 7 percent.
Wisconsin had been at tier two, with its last three-plus-month stretch at 7 percent unemployment occurring between May and August last year. After seasonally adjusted unemployment rates of 7 percent in January and 7.1 percent in February and March, Wisconsin joins 29 other states eligible for tier three. The state remains below national unemployment rate levels, however.
Benefits from EUC tier three were closed to new participants on Feb. 10, but the state’s elevation to the tier means Wisconsinites have until
Dec. 21 to establish federal unemployment benefits for any of the three tiers, according to the Department of Workforce Development’s website.
In 2012, Congress extended the EUC program through Jan. 1, 2014. Unless it is extended again, the last payable week for EUC benefits in Wisconsin will be the week ending Dec. 28.
The EUC program was not exempted from sequestration. Because of the 2011 Federal Budget Control Act, EUC weekly benefit rates and maximum benefit amounts were reduced by 10.7 percent starting in early April.