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[Excerpt] The joint federal-state Unemployment Compensation (UC) program provides income support through UC benefit payments. Although there are broad requirements under federal law regarding UC benefits and financing, the specifics are set out under each state’s laws. States administer UC benefits with U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) oversight, resulting in 53 different UC programs operated in the states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Total UC expenditures include benefits and administrative costs. During economic expansions, states fund approximately 85%-90% of all UC expenditures—as almost all of the benefits are state-financed by state unemployment taxes. In comparison, federal expenditures are relatively small during these expansions (approximately 10%-15%) in which federal expenditures are primarily administrative grants to the states financed by federal unemployment taxes.


Suggested Citation
Whittaker, J. M., & Isaacs, K. P. (2019). The fundamentals of unemployment compensation (CRS In Focus IF I 0336). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.