The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program in New Mexico
During the Great Recession, many workers did not know how to get an unemployment extension from the state. This confusion was understandable, but during times of high unemployment, the federal government will allow unemployed workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits extensions on a large scale. To help combat the climbing unemployment rate, Congress decided to devote billions of dollars to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. The program was enacted by the federal government, as it allowed workers to claim unemployment benefits as long as they met the eligibility for unemployment requirements of their home state.
The NM unemployment extension program was created so that workers could continue contributing to the national economy. If a worker remains unemployed for an extended period of time, his or her inability to purchase goods and services would mean that less money flows into the economy. If this occurred on a large scale, the national economy could be crippled. The unemployment compensation extension program prevented this from occurring, but as the unemployment rate dropped, Congress decided to end the program in 2013. Presently, there is no way to apply for a federal unemployment extension in the state of New Mexico.
Part of the federal unemployment extension program in New Mexico involved categorizing various geographic locations. If the federal government felt that the state was experiencing high rates of unemployment, it would allow unemployment claim recipients to extend their benefits automatically. By using tiers, such as the ones listed below, the government could decide which states qualified for the unemployment extension program:
• Tier One: Up to 14 additional weeks of benefits are available to unemployed workers.
• Tier Two: If the unemployment level is at least six percent, workers can extend their benefits by up to 14 weeks.
• Tier Three: A nine-week extension is reserved for states with an unemployment rate of at least seven percent.
• Tier Four: Workers in states with an unemployment rate of at least nine percent are eligible for seven additional weeks of benefits.
Extended benefits and tax laws in New Mexico
Even if you are not granted a federal unemployment extension by New Mexico, you will still need to report all of your existing unemployment insurance coverage benefits to the Internal Revenue Service. The state and federal governments both classify benefits as taxable income, and you will need to report this “income” on IRS form 1099G. You can pay taxes on your benefits by making quarterly estimated payments to the IRS four times a year. This method will require you to estimate the amount of tax you owe, and if you underestimate, you will have to pay the rest during tax time. There are also penalties for making untimely quarterly payments. If you wish to avoid such issues, you can elect to have a specified amount withheld from your weekly NM unemployment benefits claim.
Alternatives to requesting a benefits extension in New Mexico
As an unemployed worker, you cannot receive a New Mexico unemployment extension unless the federal government decides to enact the EUC program again. This means that you will have to find other ways to provide for yourself after your benefits expire. Try employing some of the following tips if you are having a hard time finding work, or you are ineligible for an unemployment extension in NM.
• Many workers choose to register with temporary employment agencies. Sometimes it is mandatory when claiming benefits for unemployment. These agencies can help you find temporary work, and sometimes, the jobs they find for workers can turn into full-time opportunities.
• A career development course can introduce you to new job search, resume writing, and interview skills, and the state of New Mexico even offers these classes for free. Attending a class may be able to help you discover ways to make yourself more appealing to employers.
• The state wants you to find work as soon as possible, and for many workers, this can mean taking a job that does not pay as much. Some workers may even need to take a job in a different industry. If you are not eligible for an unemployment compensation extension, this can be a great way to earn income until you can find the job of your dreams.
• Both state and federal governments offer financial assistance to low-income individuals. Many of these assistance programs can help workers pay for food or utilities for a short period of time. However, you will need to meet certain qualification standards to receive these benefits.