9 weeks of jobless benefits cut

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A three-month drop in the state’s unemployment rate means Alabama is no longer eligible for nine weeks of federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits.

State Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said Monday that because the state’s average three-month unemployment rate fell below 7 percent in January, Alabama no longer meets the eligibility requirements for Tier 3 benefits.

Following federal end-of-year revisions, the state’s November 2012 rate, December 2012 rate, and January 2013 rate average to a rate of 6.9 percent, which is below the 7.0 percent threshold needed to qualify for these weeks of benefits.

Unemployed Alabamians are now currently eligible for up to 54 weeks of unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. The state of Alabama is responsible for paying up to the first 26 weeks of benefits, known as “regular” UC. Any additional weeks are paid by the federal government. After losing Tier 3, Alabama remains eligible for Tier 1, and Tier 2, which are 14 weeks each.

Claimants who are currently receiving Tier 3 benefits will be allowed to “phase-out” of the program and collect their remaining benefits, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met. Claimants who are currently enrolled in or who exhaust Tier 2 benefits for any week ending after April 13, 2013 will no longer be eligible to collect Tier 3 benefits.

-Stephanie Nelson