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2020 unemployment claims will have reduced duration, new max

According to a press release from the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL), new unemployment compensation claims file this year will be subject to the newly-enacted Unemployment Reduction Act, which was approved by the Alabama Legislature during last year’s session.

Under the new law, unemployment benefits will be lowered from a maximum of 26 weeks to a variable rate of 14 to 20 weeks based on the state’s unemployment rate.

For example, if the state’s annually-adjusted unemployment rate is at or below 6.5 percent, the maximum number of weeks will be 14 with one week added for every 0.5 percent increase in unemployment.

If the state’s average unemployment rate is 9.5 percent or higher, the maximum amount of weeks will be capped at 20.

The law also provides for an additional five-week extension of benefits, once regular benefits have been exhausted, for claimants who enroll and make progress in an ADOL-approved training program, including a General Educational Development (GED) training program; any training provided by the Alabama Career Center System; any associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree program any vocational trade or certificate program.

Claimants will automatically receive an application for the additional weeks once regular benefits have been used – the weeks will be added following certification of which training program the claimant is taking part it.

The law also increases the maximum benefit amount from $265 per week to $275 per week for qualifying claimants.

Claims filed prior to Jan. 1, 2020, will not be affected by these changes.