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Jobless Benefits Extended

Unemployed workers got a reprieve in December

Q. I've been out of work for nearly a year. How long can I continue to get unemployment benefits if I don't find a job soon?

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— Ben Bloom/Getty Images

A. Companies have been reluctant to add to their payrolls as the economic recovery remains weak, so the unemployment rate remains high.

But job seekers who were in danger of losing emergency federal benefits got a reprieve in December, when the $858 billion tax package was signed into law by President Obama. The law extended these benefits to millions of unemployed workers for another 13 months.

However, the extension did not mean that people who had already used up their unemployment compensation will again receive money. The maximum duration for jobless assistance remains 99 weeks.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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