Federal Unemployment Extension Programs
A federal unemployment extension may be available to certain Maine unemployment beneficiaries if the federal government decides to implement a nationwide unemployment extension program. There are two different types of federal unemployment extension programs. One such unemployment extension program is called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. The EUC program allows unemployment beneficiaries who qualify for state unemployment to file claims until the program expires.
The government divides federal unemployment extension payments into four tiers:
• Tier One: Grants up to 14 weeks of unemployment benefits to unemployed workers in all states.
• Tier Two: Grants up to 14 weeks of unemployment benefits to unemployed workers in states with at least a six percent unemployment rate.
• Tier Three: Grants up to nine weeks of unemployment benefits to unemployed workers who live in states with an unemployment rate of at least seven percent.
• Tier Four: Grants up to seven weeks of unemployment benefits to employees residing in a state with a nine percent unemployment rate or higher.
During times of high unemployment, you may be able to receive an unemployment compensation extension in Maine with the help of the federal government and its Extended Benefits (EB) program. Currently, this program is not available because the unemployment rate in Maine is too low, but it can provide up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to workers. This program is not the same as EUC, and whether or not the government will enact this unemployment extension program depends on the nation’s current unemployment rate. At the moment, no states qualify for this unemployment extension program.
Extended Benefits and Federal Income Taxes in Maine
Any Maine unemployment compensation extension income that you collect from the federal government must be recorded on IRS tax form 1099G. You can request that the government automatically deduct 10 percent of your income to cover tax costs. If you do not sign up for automatic deductions, you will have to make quarterly estimated tax payments throughout the year.
The History of the EUC Unemployment Compensation Extension Program
The Maine unemployment extension program was created in response to the Great Recession of 2008. The program ended in late 2013. The U.S. government allocated nearly $6 billion towards the program under the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The majority of unemployed workers received an average of 17 additional weeks of unemployment at the beginning of the program, but the figure later dropped to five weeks in 2013. This Act also stated that unemployed workers did not have to apply for a ME federal unemployment extension, instead they were automatically entitled to receive extended benefits if they are already receiving state benefits.
What to Do if You Cannot Extend Your Benefits in Maine?
Many times, an unemployment extension program will not be at your disposal. Unemployment beneficiaries who are asking themselves “What can I do to extend unemployment benefits in Maine?” may find this information unsettling, but there are ways to make ends meet until you can find a new job.
If you are unable to get a Maine unemployment compensation extension, please consider taking the following steps.
• Accept a job that offers lower wages or one that does not utilize your exact skill set. This can be difficult at first, but if necessary, it can keep you afloat during tough economic times. Check with the Maine Department of Labor to see what jobs they have available.
• Register with a temp agency. Registering with one of these agencies can be helpful if you cannot find full-time employment. Many of the temporary positions they offer have the potential to turn into full-time roles.
• If you are asking yourself “How can I extend unemployment?” you may want to take a career development course. A career development course will help you learn how to market yourself to employers more effectively. These courses are sometimes free, and the state of Maine currently offers them. They teach jobseekers how to write resumes, dress for jobs, and give stellar interviews.
• Federal and state governments offer financial assistance to low-income individuals and families. You may want to check the state website to see what the qualifications are for other government aid progrmas. If you qualify for one of these programs, the state may be able to help you purchase food and pay certain utility bills.