June 21, 2013
Update on Unemployment Insurance Modernization Provisions
Since June 2010, eligible unemployment insurance claimants supporting minor children have been receiving $15 per child, to a maximum of $50, as a dependent allowance added to their weekly unemployment benefit amount. Those dependent allowance payments will end soon as a result of legislation signed by Governor Haslam that becomes effective July 1, 2013.
For claimants currently receiving unemployment, the last payable week to receive dependent benefits will be the week that ends June 29, 2013. Claimants filing new claims for unemployment benefits on June 30 may be eligible to receive only one week of dependency benefits – for the week that ends July 6, 2013; any unemployment payments for weeks ending after that date will not include dependent allowances.
Other changes affecting eligibility included in the legislation are these:
Alternative base period provision
Through the week ending June 29, 2013, an unemployment claimant's "base period" is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, unless there are insufficient wages to monetarily qualify for benefits, in which case the claimant's base period is the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of the claimant's benefit year. This amendment revises this provision to specify that an unemployment claimant's base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, "unless the first quarter of the last five completed calendar quarters was included in the base period applicable to any individual's previous benefit year," in which case the claimant's base period would be the last four completed calendar quarters.
Note: A claimant’s base period is the time frame that determines whether he is monetarily eligible for unemployment benefits.
Disqualification from benefits for part-time workers provision
Under present law, no claimant who is otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits may be deemed ineligible for benefits solely for the reason that the claimant seeks, applies for, or accepts only part-time work instead of full-time work, if the part-time work is for a minimum of 20 hours per week. This amendment removes this provision, effective the week that ends July 6, 2013.