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Unemployment Benefits Extensions in Minnesota

In Minnesota, 26 is the maximum number of weeks for regular unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment insurance claimants nearing the end of their benefit claim may be thinking, “I’m still out of work. How can I extend unemployment payments while I look for a job?”

MN unemployment extensions and federal unemployment extensions in MN are available to qualified unemployment applicants under special circumstances.

Minnesota Unemployment Resources

Learn About Requesting an Unemployment Benefits Extension in Minnesota

To be eligible for an MN unemployment compensation extension, you must fulfill all the qualifications of the specific unemployment extension. Qualified unemployment applicants must have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance to qualify for either unemployment extension in MN.

In some cases, claimants must meet additional requirements. For example, some extensions are exclusive to workers in certain industries. These employees will complete a questionnaire pertaining to their employer to determine eligibility.

After Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) contacts the former employer, they mail a determination letter explaining athe pplicants’ eligibility. Qualified unemployment applicants will complete an the application process for an MN unemployment benefits extension.

Learn About Former Unemployment Extensions in Minnesota

Many Minnesota employees within the iron mining industry have lost their jobs due to the decline in the American steel industry. With China producing an abundance of steel and saturating the domestic market, steel prices dropped significantly – resulting in the closure of many U.S. steel plants and subsequent mills. This downturn in the domestic steel industry is similar to the steel crisis in the 1970s.

Closures of mills have left thousands of miners and employees in corresponding industries out of work. With a lack of suitable employment available for iron miners, qualified unemployment applicants are still out of work. Those at the end of their regular unemployment insurance may be wondering, “What can I do to extend unemployment payments?”

Governor Mark Dayton signed the Iron Range benefit extension on March 24, 2016, which provided an additional 26 weeks of benefit payments to those affected by the steel crisis.

This exclusive unemployment extension in Minnesota was available to former workers in the iron mining industry including workers of employers that provided goods and services to iron mining businesses. Qualified unemployment applicants in or connected to the iron mining industry that had exhausted their regular unemployment benefits were eligible for this unemployment extension.

Since employment opportunities in iron mining are increasingly scarce, many unemployment claim applicants relocated or opted for federally-funded job training programs. These programs are similar to an MN unemployment extension as they are part of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).

TRA provided payments to qualified unemployment applicants who have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance. A condition for this federal unemployment extension in MN was unemployment claimants must have lost their job due to foreign imports.

The training-related unemployment benefits extension provides qualified unemployment applicants with:

  • Paid training for new job opportunities.
  • Monetary allowances for work search in other locations.
  • Financial assistance for relocation to areas with more jobs.

Both the iron range unemployment benefits extension and TRA required unemployment claims applicants to be affected workers of the domestic steel crisis – iron miners and former employees of businesses that provided goods and services to the mining industry.

Past Federal Unemployment Extensions in Minnesota

During high rates of unemployment, Extended Benefits (EB) are activated in Minnesota. This federal unemployment extension allows qualified unemployment applicants to receive extra weeks of compensation payments. When the state’s unemployment rate is low or manageable, this unemployment benefits extension is not available.

At times, the federal or state governments establish an unemployment benefits extension program. For instance, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program temporarily gave qualified workers additional weeks of unemployment payment in 2008, but it expired in 2013. And in 2020, the federal government initiated the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which ended in 2021.

Last Updated: October 16, 2022