The recent 2009 economic stimulus bill was recently passed and it features a number of changes to unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are being extended which should come in handy given the large number of layoffs in recent months.
Unemployment benefits extended in the 2009 economic stimulus plan
Previously, unemployed workers were eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. As as result of this bill, unemployment benefits will be extended by 20 weeks regardless of which state they live in. In some higher-unemployment states such as California, there will be another 13 weeks of unemployment benefits available as well.
Total weeks of unemployment available:
- Low-unemployment state – eligible for 46 weeks of benefits.
- High-unemployment state – eligible for 59 weeks of benefits.
Increased unemployment benefits by $25 per week.
Although it varies from from state to state, the average unemployment benefit payout will be increased by $25 to about $325 per week.
Increased coverage to part-time workers
This stimulus package will also provide money to encourage the states to give employment benefits to part-time workers and more low-wage workers.
Tax change for unemployment benefits
Another change was that the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits will be tax-free which was not the case before.