FAQ: Special Cases

Q: How is the amount of EUC claim entitlement determined?

A: A worker’s level of EUC benefits is determined by the status of the state that the individual is filing a claim against (the state in which wages were earned), not the state where the individual currently resides. Therefore, if the state against which the claim is filed has “triggered on” to Tier 4 EUC because it has a high unemployment rate, the individual is eligible for the additional 6 weeks of EUC Tier 4 benefits, regardless of the unemployment rate in the state where the individual currently resides. The reverse is also true. If an individual currently resides in a state that has triggered on to Tier 4 but the state he or she is filing against has not, there is no entitlement to the additional 6 weeks.

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Q: If an individual files an interstate claim against a state that has “triggered” on to EB, but the state where the individual resides has not triggered on, how much EB should the individual receive?

A: The individual should receive 2 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB). Under the law governing EB, if an individual resides in a state that has not “triggered on” to EB, he or she can only receive a maximum of 2 weeks of EB payments. Although an individual may appear to be eligible for up to 13 or 20 weeks of EB based on the EB status of the state where he or she worked, the state is prohibited from paying more than 2 weeks of benefits if an individual has moved to a low-unemployment state that has not triggered on to EB. However, if the state where the individual lives triggers on to EB in the future, the individual can qualify for either 13 or 20 weeks.

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Q: If an individual lives in a state that has triggered on to EB, but the state that he or she is filing against has not triggered on, how much EB should the individual receive?

A: An individual is not entitled to EB if the state he or she is filing against has not triggered on to EB, even if the state where he or she lives has triggered on. The maximum level of benefits an individual is eligible to receive is determined based on the EB status of the state where the individual worked.

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Q: If an individual takes a short-term contract position as an independent contractor, will this defeat possibility of collecting unemployment benefits again?

A: Earnings as an independent contractor may not be used to establish entitlement for UI benefits in the future because those earnings are not covered wages that can be used to qualify for a new claim.(Caution: Sometimes the employer says it is an independent contractor relationship, but the unemployment insurance agency might investigate and determine it was actually employment and the earnings are treated as wages. This usually only happens if the claimant actually questions it, however.)

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Q: Do pension benefits reduce unemployment benefits?

A: States are prohibited from reducing unemployment compensation (UC) due to nontaxable distributions, but they are permitted to reduce UC payments due to taxable distributions. In general, a distribution from an eligible pension retirement plan is not includible in gross income when the taxpayer “rolls over” the distribution to another eligible retirement plan within 60 days.

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Can a legal alien qualify for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC Tiers 1-4)?

In order to qualify for EUC for a week, the alien must be authorized to work in the United States for the week of benefits that he or she is claiming.

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