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EUC History Lesson

March 27, 2014

The Federal Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired in December, after providing record amounts of financial assistance to over 24 million long-term unemployed individuals.  History shows the EUC program provided for record weeks of unemployment benefits per person (a total of up to 99 weeks of all UI benefits in many states, far eclipsing the norm of up to 52 weeks), a record duration of such a program (a total of 66 months, which is over 2 years longer than the next-longest such “temporary” program in U.S. history), and record federal spending of over $260 billion.  Below is a history on lapses in the EUC program.

Q. Has the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program ever lapsed before?

A. The EUC program has lapsed before, but it has never been revived after such a long expiration (currently at nearly three months – 85 days).  Of the five prior lapses of the EUC program, all but one has been about two-weeks or less (the longest lapse was 49 days).

  • EUC lapse of 2 days (2/27/2010-3/2/2010) ended by enactment of the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-144).
  • EUC lapse of 11 days (4/3/2010-4/15/2010) ended by enactment of the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-157).
  • EUC lapse of 49 days (6/2/2010-7/22/2010) ended by enactment of the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-205).
  • EUC lapse of 16 days (11/30/2010-12/17/2010) ended by enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312).
  • EUC lapse of 3 days (12/29/2012-1/2/2013) ended by enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240).

Q. What differences are there between the current 85-day lapse and that 49-day lapse in 2010?

A key difference between the EUC lapse in the summer of 2010 and now is the fact that the House and Senate each passed bills to extend the EUC08 program PRIOR to the program lapsing.  This time, neither the House nor the Senate has approved an extension, now almost 3 months AFTER the program ended.

Given that both the House and Senate were officially on record supporting an extension BEFORE the program expired, States and recipients had a strong signal that an extension would eventually be reached.  This meant that during that lapse, States continued to take claims in anticipation of an agreement.  States went about verifying weekly eligibility, as if the program were operating, and then just held the claims without paying them until the President signed the law.

This time around, without action from either the House or Senate, States have long since stopped verifying weekly eligibility and holding claims.  This means States will have to recreate claims and verify past eligibility, administrative requirements that were confirmed by the March 19th National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) letter.  This has led some States to declare that reopening the program is “not feasible.”

Q. Has one of these temporary extended benefit programs ever been extended after a lapse this long?

No.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, no federal temporary unemployment programs have ceased for this long and then been revived.  The longest in history remains the 49-day lapse in the summer of 2010 when both the House and Senate had already made progress toward an extension of the program.