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It depends on when and where you filed your initial claim. In usual times, unemployment claims last for 26 weeks (half a year) in almost every state, assuming that you don't find a new job during that time. In difficult economic times, however, the federal and state governments may extend these time frames -- and the recent recession is no exception. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and the extended benefits program bring the total time period for which someone could claim benefits up to a current total of 73 weeks, depending on when the person was first unemployed and the state where the person was working. These programs are subject to change, however; currently, the extended benefits program isn't in effect in any state, because unemployment rates are no longer on the rise. You'll need to contact your state unemployment insurance agency to find out the duration of benefits when you apply. For more information, see Nolo's article Unemployment Benefits: How Much Will You Get -- and For How Long?.