After announcing massive layoffs from large corporations, reports have come in that unemployment is at a 16-year high with over 10 million jobless. As the impact of the economic crises continues to millions of Americans, incumbent President George W. Bush makes last-minute laws to aid ailing citizens before he steps down. Bush signed a bill Friday extending unemployment benefits by another 7 weeks in all states and another 13 weeks for states with unemployment rates that have averaged 6% or higher over the most recent three months.
Unemployed workers usually get 26 weeks of unemployment benefits which averages around $292 per week depending on the state. In order to be eligible, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own and actively seeking work. Requirements vary per state but typically includes a minimum number of hours of employment in your base year or a minimum amount of earnings.
It is recommended that you file for unemployment benefits on your first day out of work as it takes about 2 to 3 weeks from filing before you receive your first check. Your benefits can also be reduced or eliminated if you work part-time or freelance. Though the extension is automatically extended as soon as the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act is passed, it would be better to contact your local unemployment office and confirm your qualification. To learn more, visit your State Unemployment Insurance agency.