The federal unemployment program provides standard and emergency unemployment assistance. More importantly, however, it also offers programs designed to meet the needs of those whose lives have been disrupted by natural disasters.
Emergency unemployment compensation can help workers remain stable during periods of extreme unemployment in their home states. Special programs offer supplemental assistance to veterans and former federal employees.
In addition, Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs recognize that technology and lifestyle shifts are rapidly changing the nature of work many fields. This can leave unemployed workers poorly equipped to find stable, profitable new jobs. To compensate, state UI authorities universally offer youth, senior and veteran employment programs that train and prepare workers to succeed in frontline industries that offer consistent, good-paying jobs. Understanding and taking advantage of these programs can be a critical first step to finding and thriving in a secure, good-paying job.
Veterans and former federal civilian employees qualify for UI assistance not available to other workers. The availability and duration of these benefits varies from state-to-state and between applicants and programs. In almost all cases, workers must have been separated from employment through no fault of their own and/or honorably discharged to qualify.
UI programs that serve these populations include:
In addition to offering unemployment assistance to keep families and communities stable during times of unemployment, federal and state authorities offer a variety of interlinked programs intended to help disadvantaged workers. These programs are run in conjunction with UI benefits and help workers whose jobs have been permanently discontinued or altered gain the skills and education they need to successfully adapt to the new realities of their fields. In some cases, training programs prepare participants to switch from non-lucrative, low-demand fields to more stable, high-demand careers.
Related Article: Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers
Chief among these programs are:
Emergency unemployment benefits extensions at the state level can be implemented by UI authorities any time a state’s unemployment level reaches and lingers at a federally-defined percentage for at least 13 consecutive weeks. During emergency unemployment extensions, workers who have exhausted their standard benefits may qualify for continuing benefits.
Extension periods may only go into effect for short periods of time and no extension period can be initiated less than 14 weeks after the end of a previous extension period. Federally-funded unemployment extensions, in which all benefits are paid solely by federal funds, are rare but possible in the event of nation-wide economic stress.
Emergency unemployment assistance may also come in the form of the FEMA Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program. DUA provides FEMA-supplied funding to workers unemployed as the result of nationally recognized natural disasters. Disaster unemployment benefits can only be requested by workers who are ineligible for standard UI benefits.
Numerous local, state and federal programs exist to provide job training for seniors, youth employment services and vocational training for disabled adults. Eligibility criteria, benefits availability and enrollment procedures differ between programs, but all programs share the goal of helping participants gain the job skills, experience and work they need to become and remain gainfully and steadily employed. Examples of these programs include:
Workers can access these and other programs through their states’ UI offices or one-stop career centers.
Related Article: Employment and Training Programs