New unemployment compensation claims filed in 2020 will be subject to the newly passed Unemployment Reduction Act, which was approved by the Alabama State Legislature last year.

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

If the state’s annually adjusted unemployment rate is 6.5 percent or below, the maximum number of weeks allowed will be 14, with one week added for every 0.5 percent increase, capping at 20 weeks when the state’s average unemployment rate equals or exceeds 9.5 percent.

Additionally, the law provides for an additional five-week extension for claimants who enroll and make progress in an ADOL approved training program. Acceptable programs include any GED Training Program, any training provided through the Alabama Career Center System, any Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate Degree Program, and any vocational trade or certificate program.

Claimants will be auto-mailed an application for these weeks upon exhaustion of regular benefits. The additional weeks will be added once the claimant certifies which training they are participating in and signs the application.

The maximum weekly benefit amount will increase to $275 from $265, for those who qualify.