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Exhaustees of extended unemployment benefits programs: Coping with the aftermath of the Great Recession

Date Added to Library: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 13:24
Individual Author: 
Needels, Karen
Nicholson, Walter
Lee, Joanne
Hock, Heinrich
Reference Type: 
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Issue Number: 

The Great Recession and the time period following it were characterized by the longest average unemployment durations seen since World War II. To support unemployed workers, supplemental Unemployment Compensation (UC) legislation was passed, and, in conjunction with benefits available during non-recessionary times, offered up to 99 weeks of UC benefits to eligible recipients in some states. This represented the longest potential duration of benefits in the history of the UC system. This study examines the extent to which recipients collected all of the benefits to which they were entitled ("exhausting" their benefits) and assesses the outcomes experienced by those who exhausted their entitlements relative to (1) recipients who did not exhaust all of the benefits to which they were entitled and (2) UC non-recipients.

The analyses used survey and administrative data from 10 states on UC recipients who filed claims from January 2008 through September 2009, as well as data from the Displaced Worker Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Several important findings are noted. Twenty-six percent of recipients—recipients who collected benefits from only one claim during a three-year period—exhausted all of the UC benefits to which they were entitled. Overall, these exhaustees collected an average of 87 weeks of benefits compared to 28 weeks of benefits for non-exhaustees. Four to six years after their initial claims, and compared to non-exhaustees, exhaustees were less likely to be employed and more likely to be out of the labor force.

They also experienced greater losses in household income and had higher rates of participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Social Security retirement, and disability-related income support programs. Relative to recipients with long jobless spells, non-recipients with long jobless spells were less likely to become reemployed in the subsequent few years following their layoff and had lower household incomes. (Author abstract)

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