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The American Taxpayer Relief Act, which became law last week, extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program through Jan. 1, 2014.
The federal benefits were slated to expire at the end of 2012 with claimants receiving their last payment the first week of January.
The benefits, or EUC08, is a federally funded program providing unemployment benefits to about 30,000 Tennesseans who have exhausted the first 26 weeks of state benefits (maximum).
The legislation only extends the deadline to receive existing federal benefits and does not add additional weeks. Tennessee claimants are currently allowed a maximum of 26 weeks of state benefits and an additional 37 weeks of federal benefits.
“This has been an uncertain time for those depending on unemployment benefits,” said Tennessee Labor Commissioner Karla Davis. “I would encourage claimants to focus their job search by using our jobs database at Jobs4tn.gov and visiting a Tennessee Career Center.”
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development must still receive authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay federal EUC08 claims.
While federal officials expect to have authorizations in place to provide a seamless transition, a delay of a week or more is possible.
A retroactive payment would then be made to make up for lost weeks before resuming regular weekly payments.
Those presently receiving federal benefits should continue their weekly certification that notifies the department by phone or Internet they are still unemployed. If claimants stop their certification, they will have to contact the claims center to verify their unemployment status and could face a delay in their benefit resumption.
Claimants should also continue to complete at least two work searches per week in order to meet the requirements for receiving federal benefits.
Claimants can check the status of their unemployment benefit deposit by logging in to https://ui.tn.gov with their personal identification number. If their account shows the benefit amount is “released,” the deposit will be available within 48 hours.
Additional updates will be provided on the state website at http://goo.gl/ZL4hD.