Publication Date



Many states have enacted changes to their Unemployment Compensation (UC) programs in recent years. These changes may be a reaction to state UC financial stress, caused by the most recent recession (December 2007 June 2009), as well as a response to concerns about UC program integrity. In general, these states have been attempting to reduce the costs of UC benefits, which are financed through state taxes on employers. This reduction in state UC benefit spending may be achieved through two significant types of state UC changes: (1) a reduction in the duration of state UC employment benefits and (2) a reduction in the state UC weekly benefit amount.

This report first provides a brief overview of the unemployment compensation programs and benefits that may be available to eligible, unemployed individuals. It also analyzes the recent state UC financial stress and concerns about UC program integrity as context for state law changes. Next, the two categories of UC state law issues are discussed:

  1. changes in the duration of state UC unemployment benefits and

  2. changes in the maximum UC weekly benefit amount.


Suggested Citation
Isaacs, K. P. (2018). Unemployment insurance: Consequences of changes in state unemployment compensation laws (CRS Report R41859). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

A previous version of this report can be found here: