President signs law to continue federal unemployment benefits

Federal unemployment benefits will be extended through the end of the year, but the number of weeks will be reduced in all states, according to a bill signed into law by President Obama this week.

If Congress had not passed this bill, all federal benefits would have run out at the end of February.

The legislation, which also extended the payroll tax holiday, continues federal unemployment benefits through Dec. 31, 2012.

The law impacts two federal unemployment programs—Extended Benefits (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC).

Each state’s participation in the EB program is based on if its unemployment rate is higher than a certain level, known as a trigger rate. The EUC program includes four tiers, which will see reductions in weeks throughout the year.

The Department of Labor is currently analyzing the law and in the process of offering guidance to all states on how it specifically affects each one’s Unemployment Insurance program.

Updates will be posted on the SC Department of Employment and Workforce’s website at www.dew.sc.gov .