Here Is What To Do If You Run Out of Unemployment Benefits

The 6.9% unemployment rate in October isn’t telling you the whole story. The number of people receiving traditional unemployment benefits did fall from 7.2 million to 6.8 million, though that isn’t because they all got jobs.

The majority of states offer around six months of state unemployment benefits, which might be reasonable when we’re not in a pandemic. Previous drops in claims can partially be attributed to the fact that people are simply running out of options as they hit the 6-month mark.

The latest $900 billion stimulus package added an extension of unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which includes people who are not traditionally eligible for benefits –– freelancers or self-employed. 

A new verification process was also passed to cut down on fraud that would take away from the 10 million people who need the benefits offered through the program.

Here’s what to do if you have run out of benefits

Do your research

With many Americans using up their state unemployment insurance (UI) funds, the best thing you can do to ensure you’re maximizing other benefits you qualify for is to do your research. Right now, other forms of financial aid besides UI include

[ Read: How Unemployment Works And What You Need to Get Benefits ]

Additional benefits available depend on where you live –– some states will offer more or fewer benefits for residents. So it really is up to you to find out what the requirements are for your state. You can also verify your eligibility by completing an official governmental questionnaire and visiting Benefits.gov to filter a relief and assistance per state.

Apply for anything you still can

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended traditional state benefits for 13 weeks –– but only if you applied for it the first time. So if you didn’t know you had to submit an application, you likely missed out on this opportunity. If you can still apply –– some states allow retroactive payments. Without congressional action, the PEUC, which provides a weekly benefits amount between $10 and $247 is set to expire by December 26. So you’ll need to apply by then. 

 [ Read: Insurance Terms to Know If You’re Filing for Unemployment Right Now ]

Extended Benefits (EB) — another form of relief — allows for 16 extra weeks of unemployment benefits. But you can only take advantage of this program after you exhaust traditional and PEUC aid. You would receive the same amount of money each week as you did for regular unemployment insurance. If you’re unsure what you qualify for, contact your State Unemployment Insurance agency.  

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) created by the CARES Act is another program that offers aid to workers who are not eligible for state benefits, like those who don’t have enough work history, part-time workers, self-employed workers and many contractors. The program provides up to $275 in weekly benefits for 39 weeks.

Many companies and entities are offering aid to people who are struggling with unemployment.

ResourceWho is eligibleWhat is offered
CitiCiti customers Monthly service fees are waived on credit cards. Late fees for personal loans and lines of credit are waived for 2 statement cycles.
Wells FargoWells Fargo customers and Clients Wells Fargo is offering flexible repayment plans for those impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, Wells Fargo has donated $175 million to Covid relief. 
U.S. BankIndividuals and small businessesU.S. Bank creates flexible repayment plans for loans, credit card balances and mortgages. 
PNC BankPNC Bank customersCustomers can apply for COVID-related hardship assistance through PNC Bank.
DiscoverDiscover customers and clients Payment assistance is available for Discover customers. Contact customer service to find your payment option.
TruistTruist (Suntrust and BB&T) customers and small businessesBusiness recovery resources are available. Since March, Truist has donated $50 million to communities. 

State unemployment extensions 

As PEUC and PUA benefits are set to expire at the end of December, many states have begun to fill in the gaps. The extended benefits programs offered by states generally pay out benefits for 13 to 26 weeks. Though there are a few outliers that have more or less. Find out what your state is offering below:

StateRegular unemployment insurance (by week)Extended benefits available
Alabama14 weeksNA
Alaska26 weeks20 weeks
Arizona26 weeks13 weeks
Arkansas16 weeksExtended benefits ended November 7*
California26 weeks20 weeks
Colorado26 weeks13 weeks
Connecticut26 weeks20 weeks
Delaware26 weeks20 weeks
District of Columbia26 weeks20 weeks
Florida12 weeks6 weeks
Georgia26 weeks13 weeks
Hawaii26 weeks13  weeks
Idaho22 weeksNA
Illinois26 weeks20 weeks
Indiana26 weeks13 weeks
Iowa26 weeks13 weeks
Kansas26 weeks13 weeks
Kentucky26 weeks13 weeks
Louisiana26 weeks13 weeks
Maine26 weeksExtended benefits ended November 14*
Maryland26 weeks13 weeks
Massachusetts26 weeks13 weeks
Michigan26 weeks20 weeks
Minnesota26 weeks13 weeks
Mississippi26 weeks13 weeks
Missouri20 weeks13 weeks
Montana28 weeks13  weeks
Nebraska26 weeksNA
Nevada26 weeks20 weeks
New Hampshire26 weeks13 weeks
New Jersey26 weeks20 weeks
New Mexico26 weeks13 weeks
New York26 weeks20 weeks
North Carolina12 weeks6 weeks
North Dakota26 weeksNA
Ohio26 weeks20 weeks
Oklahoma26 weeks13 weeks
Oregon26 weeks20 weeks
Pennsylvania26 weeks13 weeks
Puerto Rico26 weeks13 weeks
Rhode Island26 weeks20 weeks
South Carolina30 weeks10 weeks
South Dakota26 weeksNA
Tennessee26 weeksNA
Texas26 weeks13 weeks
Utah26 weeksNA
Vermont26 weeks13 weeks
Virgin Islands26 weeks13 weeks
Virginia26 weeks13 weeks
Washington26 weeks20 weeks
West Virginia26 weeks13 weeks
Wisconsin26 weeks13 weeks
Wyoming26 weeksNA

Managing your money once aid ends

  1. Prioritize finding a new job — Even though employment growth has plummeted due to recent surges in coronavirus cases, you still have options. Whether you pick up a side hustle or return to a conventional job, finding a new stream of consistent money is essential. 
  1. Revisit your budget — You should revisit your budget every few months during a regular year. Amid a pandemic, you should revise it every chance you get. When aid ends, you’ll likely have to shift around your priorities and analyze where you are spending your money.  
  1. Review all balances and prioritize bills — When aid does end, it will likely come in phases. For example, your unemployment benefits may end before your student loans are due, or vice versa. It’s important to take the time to look at what debt payments you have and which you need to prioritize. Missing payments is never a good idea, though some lenders may be more willing to work with you on your monthly deposit. 
  1. Don’t forget about savings  — If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is the importance of savings. We can’t forget the new ways we have learned to save, especially when aid ends. Try finding a way to save money faster, too, if your funds aren’t enough for emergencies or covering essential expenses.

Frequently asked questions 

Who is eligible for extended unemployment benefits?

Extended unemployment benefits are available for people who have exhausted traditional benefits offered by their state and the federal government. 

What happens to unemployment benefits without another stimulus package?

If a second stimulus package is not passed, millions of people will be out of options. Many states have stepped in to provide residents with an extension of benefits, though the extended aid will expire. 

Are unemployment benefits taxed?

Yes. The unemployment benefits millions of people are receiving are taxable, which will factor into their tax bill for 2020. Planning is essential; if you do not pay enough through the year, you could end up owing a considerable amount when tax season rolls around.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Image Credit: Xinhua News Agency/ Getty Images

Taylor Leamey

Personal Finance Reporter

Taylor Leamey is a personal finance reporter at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, mortgages, renters, and financial policy. Her reporting has also been featured at CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Reviews.com, MyMove.com, and elsewhere.

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  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar who leads our news and opinion coverage. She specializes in financial policy, banking, and investing.