The Congress is likely to enact an economic stimulus package in 2002 that includes significant increases in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Details of bills passed by the House and the Senate during 2001 differ widely. Great uncertainty surrounds the provisions of the bill that may be enacted sometime in the current year. This issue brief provides background information on the UI program, discusses key aspects of benefit recipiency, and describes the legislative developments to date. It provides a general discussion of UI before examining the federal legislation of 2001. The starting point is the current labor market and evidence of a recession.