Alabama residents qualify for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits compensation as of publication. These amounts include 26 weeks of regular unemployment, 53 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB). To qualify for either EUC or EB extensions, unemployed residents actively searching for work must exhaust their regular unemployment benefits and qualify for these extensions by a deadline set by federal law.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) takes the form of tiers. When residents exhaust their first tier of EUC benefits after 20 weeks, they can receive additional extensions through Tier II, which provides up to 14 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, and Tier III, which provides up to 13 weeks of extra benefits. After exhausting the three previous tiers, Alabama residents can receive Tier IV benefits, which provide 6 additional weeks of unemployment compensation, because the state of Alabama currently has an average unemployment rate of more than 8.5 percent as of April 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Alabama residents can receive an unemployment benefits extension lasting up to 20 weeks after they exhaust their regular unemployment claim and all four tiers of EUC, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). The federal government fully funds this extension, officially known as the High Unemployment Extended Benefits Compensation (EB), and residents will have to provide documentation of their job search when applying to prove that they deserve benefits.
People in Alabama must qualify for an EUC unemployment benefits extension by January 3, 2012. After this date, residents can finish out their current EUC tier but cannot obtain additional benefits. Residents interested in the EB program must register online or by phone with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) by January 4, 2012. Since these dates are subject to a possible extension as of publication, residents should check the website of the DIR to determine eligibility after 2012.
After Alabama residents initially apply for a regular unemployment claim either online or by mail, EUC will kick in automatically. The Alabama DIR will apply each new tier extension of EUC if the resident certifies her claim weekly either online or by telephone and does not find work. As of publication, residents must apply separately for High Unemployment Extended Benefits Compensation either online through the website of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations or by calling 866-234-5382.