Alabamians who exhausted both their regular unemployment benefits and the benefit program created by the federal stimulus package may be eligible for up to 13 weeks of additional benefits after the state Labor Department announced Monday it would implement a federal program next month.
The so-called extended benefits program kicks in when a state’s unemployment rate is higher than 5.9 percent; Alabama’s 6.1 percent unemployment rate triggered the 13-week program starting the week of May 31, the Alabama Department of Labor said. The program is usually available during adverse economic conditions, and Alabama last used the extended benefits program during the 2008 recession.
Alabamians can start claiming the benefits on July 5 as long as they have used up both their regular unemployment compensation benefits and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, the agency said. While the program lasts 13 weeks, not all workers will qualify for all of those weeks. Under the program’s eligibility requirements, workers must not be eligible for unemployment benefits in another state or Canada; have no disqualifications; have qualifying wages; and have at least one week in the benefit year that begins in an extended benefits eligibility period. The full criteria for the program can be found here.
As with regular unemployment benefits, the extended benefits are only granted if a worker is no longer employed through no fault of their own and must be able and available to work.
Alabamians will not have to apply for extended benefits. Instead, the Labor Department will notify eligible Alabamians through the mail and the Unemployment Insurance Claims Tracker. While there is no application, claimants should continue to file weekly certifications, the labor department said.