Unemployment insurance - overview

In a 16-page study published April 14, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) gives an overview of the variety of benefits available to the unemployed.

Basic unemployment compensation (UC) is a joint federal-state program financed by federal taxes under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and state payroll taxes. CRS provides two 50-state tables on (1) UC benefits amounts and (2) taxable wage base and rates. The information was compiled from Significant Provisions of State Unemployment Insurance Laws, January 2006, from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

The report summarizes the following programs:

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program gives benefit extensions and job training to workers dislocated by international trade.

The Extended Benefit (EB) program, pursuant to 26 USC §3304, gives benefit extensions at the state level under certain economic situations. There is none currently active. The most recent EB program operated in Louisiana from Oct. 30, 2005, to Feb. 25, 2006.

The Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program has been activated by Congress five times, in 1971, 1974, 1982, 1991, and 2002. There is no TEUC program currently. In 2002 TEUC was enacted as part of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, (P.L. 107-147, pdf, 156KB, 43p., from GPO), extending benefits for 13 weeks.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits were established by the Stafford Act in 1970. When the President declares a major disaster in a state, assistance under the Stafford Act includes unemployment assistance for job loss due to the disaster.

Legislation in the 109th Congress discussed in the report relates to unemployment caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Unemployment Insurance: Available Unemployment Benefits and Legislative Activity, CRS Report RL33362
(pdf, 72KB, 16p., from Open CRS)


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