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H.R. 5260 (102nd): Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 2, 1992.

Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992 - Title I: Extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program - Amends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-164, as amended) to extend the emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) program. Changes the EUC program termination date (currently July 4, 1992) to March 6, 1993. Reduces the maximum number of weeks of EUC benefits for new claimants for weeks after June 13, 1992 to: (1) 26 (rather than 33) in certain States with high unemployment rates; and (2) 20 (rather than 26) in all other States. Provides for further reduction of these weeks of benefits, to: (1) 15 or 10 weeks, respectively, if the national total unemployment rate falls below 7 percent for two consecutive months; or (2) 13 or 7 weeks, respectively, if such rate falls below 6.8 percent for such a consecutive two-month period. Provides for up to three months (for weeks beginning before June 19, 1993) continuation of EUC benefits for certain individuals receiving such benefits for a week during which such EUC program termination date (March 6, 1993) occurs. Provides that individuals eligible to receive EUC benefits during such final phaseout period (of weeks beginning after March 6, 1993, and before June 19, 1993), if they are in a State where an extended benefit period is triggered during such phaseout period, shall be eligible to receive whichever is greater, the EUC benefits or the extended benefits. Modifies EUC eligibility requirements to: (1) provide that an individual is not ineligible by reason of subsequent entitlement to regular benefits; and (2) provide certain transition rules, including a waiver of recovery of certain overpayments and an option to defer rights to certain regular benefits. Requires the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary) to estimate the amount of EUC benefits paid to former employees of nonprofit organizations and State or local governments (which amount is to be charged to the general fund of the Treasury). Provides, under specified conditions, that certain Persian Gulf Crisis reservists may receive an EUC weekly benefit amount equal to what they were receiving under the regular State unemployment compensation program when they were called to active duty. Extends the program of temporary extended railroad unemployment insurance benefits (and provides for a phaseout of benefits). Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to provide that ex-service members and reservists shall not be denied eligibility for certain trade adjustment assistance by reason of their being on call-up for active duty in a reserve status of the Armed Forces. Provides for the financing from general revenues of any new EUC benefits provided by this Act. Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to transfer from the general fund of the Treasury to: (1) the extended unemployment compensation account sums necessary to make payments to States under the EUC program by reason of specified amendments made by title I of this Act; and (2) the employment security administration account sums necessary to assist States in meeting administrative costs by reason of specified amendments made by titles I and II of this Act. Title II: Modifications to Extended Benefits Program - Amends the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 to modify trigger provisions for the extended benefits (EB) program. Allows States (effective with respect to compensation for weeks of unemployment beginning after March 6, 1993) the option of providing by law for an additional alternative trigger for the EB program, based on the State's seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate (TUR) for the most recent three months reaching at least: (1) 6.5 percent; and (2) 110 percent of such TUR for the corresponding three-month periods ending in the two preceding calendar years. Allows an additional seven weeks of benefits to be provided in States where the TUR for such period is at least eight percent (and which meet such 110 percent requirement). Modifies EB (and EUC) employment and earnings test rules to allow a State to use one or more of three specified methods as eligibility criteria (current law requires a State to choose one of the three methods to determine eligibility of all claimants). Suspends certain EB eligibility requirements (relating to suitable work, job search, and reemployment) for weeks beginning after March 6, 1993, and before January 1, 1995. Directs the Federal Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation to study such suspended requirements and report by February 1, 1994, its recommendations on whether they should be repealed or revised to specified congressional committees. Title III: Modifications to Federal Unemployment Tax - Requires the appropriate State agency to provide to each individual filing a claim for unemployment compensation under State law a written explanation of: (1) the Federal and State taxation of unemployment benefits; and (2) the requirements to make payments of estimated Federal and State income taxes. Amends the Social Security Act (SSA) to allow States to include information on the earned income credit under the Internal Revenue Code in certain mailings relating to unemployment compensation, at no cost if such additional information does not increase the postage cost of such mailings. Amends Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to extend by two years (until January 1, 1995) the current exclusion from coverage under FUTA of agricultural labor performed before such date by an individual who is admitted to the United States to perform such agricultural labor under certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Requires the Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation to report by February 1, 1994, to specified congressional committees on such FUTA exclusion treatment of agricultural labor performed by aliens. Extends by one year the grace period for State repayment of Federal loans to State unemployment funds (before certain penalty taxes on employers take effect in such States with overdue loans), if the State amended its unemployment compensation law during 1992 or 1993 to increase estimated contributions requirements by at least 25 percent. Title IV: Modification to Regular State Unemployment Compensation Programs - Amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to provide for treatment of short-time compensation programs which provide partial unemployment benefits to individuals whose workweeks have been reduced by at least ten percent. Allows State laws to provide for unemployment compensation funds to be withdrawn for the payment of such short-time compensation under a plan approved by the Secretary of Labor. Directs the Secretary of Labor to assist States in establishing and implementing short-time compensation programs by: (1) developing model legislative language and proposing appropriate revisions; and (2) providing technical assistance and guidance. Requires the Secretary to report to the Congress on implementation of these short-time compensation program provisions. Allows eligible employees under a short-time compensation program to participate in an employer-sponsored training program to enhance job skills if such program has been approved by the State agency. Title V: Revenue Provisions - Subtitle A: Extension of Phaseout of Personal Exemptions; Corporate Estimated Tax Provisions Amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to extend by one year, through December 31, 1996, a phaseout of personal exemptions for certain high income taxpayers. Revises IRC requirements for corporate estimated tax payments. Requires large corporations to base their estimated tax payments on an increased percentage of their current year tax liability as follows: (1) 97 percent for taxable years beginning after June 30, 1992, and before 1997 (rather than the current 95 or 93 percent, determined on an actual or annual basis); and (2) 91 percent for taxable years beginning in 1997 and thereafter (rather than the current 90 percent). Subtitle B: Pension Distributions - Revises IRC provisions relating to taxability of a beneficiary of an employees' trust. Modifies rules for rollover and withholding on nonperiodic pension distributions. Allows tax-free rollovers of any part of the taxable portion of a distribution (other than a minimum required distribution) from a qualified pension or annuity plan (or tax-sheltered annuity) to an individual retirement account (IRA) or another qualified pension plan or annuity (but not if such distribution is part of a series of periodic payments). Requires qualified pension and annuity plans to allow their participants the option of trustee-to-trustee transfers whereby any eligible tax-free rollover distribution is transferred directly to a participant-designated eligible transferee plan (an IRA, qualified annuity plan, or qualified defined contribution retirement plan - but not a qualified defined benefit plan). Requires plan administrators, before making a distribution eligible for such a tax-free rollover, to provide an explanation of such direct transfer option, following a model explanation the Secretary of the Treasury is required to develop. (Provides for similar requirements to apply to eligible tax-free rollover distributions from tax-sheltered annuities.) Provides that any such tax-free rollover eligible distribution that is not directly transferred to an eligible transferee plan shall have a 20 percent withholding rate imposed on it. Sets forth a transition rule for certain annuity contracts. Sets forth rules for adoption of plan amendments required by this subtitle. Subtitle C: Other Provisions - Revises provisions for Federal unemployment accounts. Modifies provisions for the extended unemployment compensation account with respect to transfers and increases the ceiling on such account. Reduces the ceiling on the Federal unemployment account. Provides for borrowing among the employment security administration account, the Federal unemployment account, and the extended unemployment compensation account. Amends specified Federal law relating to civil service employment to provide that if any Federal agency does not deposit a required amount in the Federal Employees Compensaiton Account for unemployment benefits within 30 days after notification by the Secretary of Labor, such Secretary shall notify the Secretary of the Treasury of such failure and that Secretary shall transfer such amount to such Account from amounts otherwise appropriated to such Federal agency. Extends, to December 31, 1994, the deadline for a report on a study of the allocation of funds among States for the administration of unemployment compensation programs (such report is required under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991). Extends the deadline for the report of the Commission on Interstate Child Support until August 1, 1992, and postpones the termination date for such Commission to September 30, 1992