Vermont Extended Unemployment Benefits

The U.S. economy has experienced monthly ebbs and flows and struggling industries and workers try to rebound. The uncertainty for long-term growth is leaving many wary workers in every state, including Vermont. Even with an unemployment rate substantially less than the national rate – 5.9 percent – many unemployed workers have been without work since the height of the Great Recession.

In 2009, Vermont’s unemployment rate was 7.3 percent. This number has declined, but natural disasters in 2011 has disrupted the local economy and dampened the outlook for many long term unemployed individuals. Fortunately, the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) can provide extended unemployment compensation for individuals out of work longer than six months.

Vermont’s Long Term Unemployment Benefits Program

Currently, there are two extended unemployment benefit programs for which residents may qualify. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is fully funded by the federal government. The State Extended Benefits (EB) program is a state funded program for individuals who exhaust regular unemployment and EUC benefits.

Individuals are eligible for extended unemployment benefits under the EUC program once regular unemployment benefits are exhausted. The EUC program has four tiers that allow Vermont residents to receive extended unemployment compensation.

Because of the current unemployment rate, Vermont qualifies for the first two tiers. In total, Vermont residents may receive up to 60 weeks of unemployment compensation.

The unemployment rate has to rise above six percent before individuals are eligible for extended unemployment benefits for tiers three and four. This would add up to an additional 19 weeks of benefits.

Unless the EUC eligibility is authorized by the federal government beyond December 31, 2011, Vermont residents cannot receive a new tier after this date. Those who become eligible before December 31 will receive unemployment benefits until their current tier is exhausted.

Vermont’s EB program is available for individuals who have exhausted regular and EUC benefits. Individuals could receive up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment compensation.

Anyone who meets the qualifications for extended unemployment eligibility is notified by the Vermont DOL. Letters are mailed that includes filing instructions. Other requirements include:

  • Participation in an orientation at one of the regional resource centers
  • Detailed reports of work search activities

Tiers three and four of the federal EUC are currently unavailable to Vermont residents. Individuals will be notified about their eligibility if there are changes. Information about the possibility of future extensions will be posted on the Vermont DOL web site.

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