Unemployment benefits 101: four basic questions answered

Like last year, Congress is debating whether to reauthorize extended unemployment insurance. At stake as early a January are benefits for some 1.8 million Americans who currently receive unemployment. Here are the different scenarios and ramifications of what could happen: 

2. What if Congress renews the legislation?

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    A man looks over employment opportunities at a jobs center in San Francisco in this file photo.
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Depending on the individual state, an individual would still be eligible for up to 79 weeks of benefits – 26 weeks from the states and up to 53 weeks of federal EUC – plus an additional 20 weeks of extended benefits (EB).

However, it is likely that people who receive up to 20 weeks of EB, which kick in after EUC, could see that compensation gradually phase out.

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