State offers online tracking of unemployment claims

The Alabama Department of Labor announced that the state will begin offering Extended Benefits (EB) for those who qualify and have exhausted previous benefits.

This is a separate program from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program that was enacted under the CARES Act.

The EB program is a federal program that is triggered when a state’s insured unemployment rate exceeds 5.9%. Alabama’s weekly insured unemployment rate of 6.11% triggered the state onto a 13-week EB period beginning the week of May 31. It is usually available during times of adverse economic conditions. The last time Alabama offered the EB program was during the Great Recession of 2008.

While EB is available for UP TO 13 weeks, not all claimants will be eligible to receive all weeks. Alabamians can begin claiming these benefits on July 5.

Claimants must first exhaust all regular UC and PEUC benefits before they will be eligible for EB benefits. Claimants must not be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits in another state or Canada, must have no disqualifications, have qualifying wages, and must have at least one week in the benefit year that begins in an EB eligibility period. Specific eligibility criteria can be found at: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_24-20.pdf.

Individuals are only entitled to benefits if they are no longer working through no fault of their own and they must be able and available for work. The EB program has more stringent work search requirements and requires claimants to engage in a “systematic and sustained” effort to obtain work during each week and to provide evidence of efforts.

Due to the pandemic, the submission of required work search contacts has been temporarily waived due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, claimants should continue to look for work where possible, and maintain a record of their efforts on a weekly basis. This waiver may end at any time. Once this waiver ends, claimants will be required to provide a minimum of three work search contacts each week during the weekly certification process.

ADOL will notify those eligible for EB benefits via the UI Claims Tracker and by mail. Claimants will not have to apply for these benefits, but should continue to file weekly certifications.

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