Big Changes Made To Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program

CARSON CITY – A state agency today reported that significant changes have been made to the unemployment insurance benefit structure affecting both current and future recipients.

In February 2012, federal legislation extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through December 2012. The recent change in federal law will affect nearly 75,000 Nevada claimants who currently receive, as well as those who may file, for EUC, said Renee Olson, administrator for the state Employment Security Division.

The changes affect how work searches are documented and the number of weeks claimants can receive EUC benefits. Recipients will now be required to attend a reemployment services orientation as well, she said.

Californians who lost jobs due to freeze. / Photo courtesy of FEMA.

Under the new regulations, all individuals filing new EUC claims, or transitioning from EUC Tier I to Tier II, must participate in reemployment eligibility assessment and reemployment services programs.

“The purpose of the orientation is to ensure job search compliance, assist claimants with their reemployment efforts and improve the likelihood of claimants securing new employment,” Olson said. “If selected to participate in these services and an individual fails to comply, benefits must be denied. All EUC claimants will receive a letter providing specific details on the reemployment service orientation and work search requirements.”

An appointment notice will be mailed to EUC claimants to advise them of their mandatory orientation session with the time and location of the orientation. All individuals receiving EUC must complete and document two to three substantive work searches each week for submission and review by division representatives at the orientation event. Failure to attend the scheduled orientation or provide adequate proof of work search is cause to terminate unemployment benefits.

“The changes to the regulations are designed to transition individuals from unemployment benefits to gainful employment,” said Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “In doing so, we will rebuild our economy, as well as provide individuals with a more permanent income. We will remain diligent in helping our customers become job ready and in supporting them in reaching their career goals.”

One portion of the regulation won’t take effect until September 2012. At that time, the number of weeks a recipient can receive benefits will be reduced to a maximum of 73 weeks, down from the 99-week maximum that has been in place since 2009.

The federal legislation did not add additional funds for those who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits, Olson said.