Understanding Extended Benefits in Alaska
Extended Benefits is a federal unemployment extension program funded by the state to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to those who qualify. Extended Benefits is typically only available during periods of high state unemployment. Since Alaska is not experiencing such a situation, unemployment compensation extensions are not currently available to you right away, though they may be activated in the future. Historically, during these times of high unemployment, Alaska initiates EB in January or February and ceases the program once the economic conditions have been sufficiently improved.
The EB unemployment extensions in Alaska are only available to those who have exhausted their regular benefits and are in need of an unemployment benefits extension. Those who are eligible to receive extra weeks of benefits may receive an additional 50 percent of their regular benefit entitlement, including dependent allowance. Furthermore, in the state of Alaska, federal unemployment extensions under the EB program last for 13 weeks.
How to Get an Unemployment Extension in Alaska
If you are asking, “How can I extend unemployment?” you must first find out if you qualify for an unemployment extension in Alaska. Just like with the original benefits application process, there are requirements that will help determine if an applicant is eligible for a federal unemployment extension. In order to be eligible to receive Extended Benefits, unemployed workers must:
- Have an active UI claim that ended on or after the first payable week of Extended Benefits.
- Not have been separated from their last employment due to quitting or being discharged for misconduct, and they must not have refused an offer of suitable work.
- Be willing to seek and accept any suitable work. In the state of Alaska, suitable work is defined as any work which the applicant has experience or training in and which he or she can both physically and mentally perform.
- Seek work and report a required number of work searches for each week claimed, unless deferred.
- Be registered and create an online resume in the Alaska Labor Exchange system within seven days of filing their initial claim.
If you have been denied an unemployment extension through Extended Benefits, another extension program is known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). EUC is an additional unemployment benefits extension program that can help you continue receiving state benefits when your benefit period has elapsed. Typically, EUC benefits are paid prior to state EB benefits, when the programs are active, and the typical span of EUC is separated into four tiers:
- Tier 1 supplies benefits for 20 weeks.
- Tier 2 supplies benefits for 14 weeks.
- Tier 3 supplies benefits for 13 weeks.
- Tier 4 supplies benefits for six weeks.
Keep in mind, you must maintain your federal unemployment extension eligibility in the same way that you maintained your eligibility for the original benefits. You must continue to submit your bi-weekly claims, either online or over the phone. You must also continue to keep any proof of your job search, including the employers’ names, emails and addresses for the jobs you have applied for, along with the mode by which you applied. You must also notify your unemployment benefits department if you have taken on part-time work. By reporting your new part-time unemployment status, you may still be able to collect part-time benefits.
Note: The state of Alaska takes fraud very seriously and, if proven guilty of reporting false information or omitting important information in an attempt to collect benefits, you could be charged with committing a federal crime.