Extended Unemployment Benefits to End Today in Illinois, California, and Florida

May 12, 2012

Thousands of Americans who have been receiving extended unemployment benefits will no longer receive that money, if they live in states that no longer qualify for the program. Under federal law, the rate of unemployment must be 10 percent higher than for the previous three years for extended benefits to remain in each state. States that no longer qualify, as of today, include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  Officials in California say that state alone will see more than 90, 000 people lose their extended unemployment benefits today.

Economists say unemployment rates have dropped in recent weeks, in part because thousands of Americans have given up and stopped looking for a job.  Those people are no longer counted among the unemployed, and jobless rates have declined slightly in several states. Those slightly lower rates are now making it more difficult for several states to qualify for the federal unemployment extensions.

The extensions were established by the federal government in 2009 to help workers who lost their jobs. The extensions added additional weeks of benefits for those who had exhausted the normal 26 weeks of unemployment benefits that existed at the time.

The extended unemployment benefits ended in April for residents of several other states, including Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.