What is the federal unemployment extension program, and how does it work in Louisiana?
Most workers in the U.S. are eligible for up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, not including the Louisiana unemployment benefits extension period. The state uses a 52-week calendar to set limits on state benefits, and every worker has a maximum amount of benefit weeks that they can receive within this time frame. While receiving unemployment benefits, workers must report any wages or income they earn from other jobs. If a claimant’s income exceeds the amount of benefits he or she receives, the claimant will no longer receive benefits for that calendar year. Once the benefit time limit is reached, the applicant can typically only file a claim again the following calendar year.
However, workers who are having an exceptionally difficult time finding full-time work can file a request for unemployment benefits extension. If the unemployment extension is granted by the state, the worker will be allowed to receive additional benefits past their 26-week limit.
The federal government is in charge of extending benefits during periods of high unemployment. If the number of unemployed workers exceeds the limit set by the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment benefits extension program will become active in Louisiana. This means that unemployed workers will be able to request additional benefits. In most cases, if the unemployment rate is at least five percent higher than usual over a period of 13 weeks or the current unemployment rate is at least 120 percent higher than the rate over the last two years, the government will allow workers to file an unemployment extension.
Louisiana Extended Benefits Eligibility Qualifications
If your request for an unemployment compensation extension is granted, you will be able to receive up to 13 more weeks of benefits.
The maximum amount of benefits you can receive during this period will be less than:
• 13 times the amount of your regular weekly benefits
• 50 percent of your current weekly benefits amount
• 39 times the weekly benefits amount minus regular benefits paid
As usual, you must continue to seek employment on a weekly basis if you wish to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.
Not everyone will be eligible for an unemployment extension, and you will be denied if you fail to the meet the state eligibility standards.
To have your unemployment benefits extended, you must meet the following criteria:
- Are currently unemployed
- Are not receiving workers’ compensation from a previous job
- Are not receive unemployment benefits from the United States, its territories, or Canada
- Meet the general eligibility standards for regular unemployment
If your regular unemployment benefits ended before the unemployment benefits extension period starts, you will not be eligible for unemployment. If you were disqualified for regular unemployment benefits for any reason, you will also be ineligible.
The unemployment benefits extension period of unemployment is accompanied by special job search requirements that all jobseekers must adhere to if they are granted an extension. To remain eligible for unemployment extension, you must accumulate at least three work contacts a week. The federal government also requires you to accept any suitable job position that is offered if you are capable of performing the necessary work.
Your federal unemployment extension will end if you refuse a job that meets the following standards:
• Pays the federal minimum wage or more.
• You receive the offer in writing or through the state Job Search Office.
• The weekly gross pay exceeds your weekly monetary benefits.
If you are disqualified from receiving an unemployment compensation extension, the state will allow you file a claim again if you work for at least four weeks and earn four times the amount of your weekly benefit amount. You do not have to work four consecutive weeks to apply again. You will also be disqualified if you do not make yourself available for work according to state law.
Applying for an Unemployment Benefits Extension in Louisiana
If you are asking yourself, “How can I extend unemployment in Louisiana?” you will need to visit a state unemployment office. If your application is approved, you can continue to make weekly claims on the Louisiana Workforce Office website. Submitting an application online is the only way to claim your benefits, and if you do not have access to internet service, you will need to contact your local unemployment office for further assistance. The state Department of Labor does not accept extended benefits applications by mail.