Unemployed will see some relief after $300 benefit reauthorized

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Unemployment compensation could be arriving as early as today.

The Kansas Department of Labor announced Friday that H.R. 133, the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, and KDOL have received instructions on distributing the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

The Act reauthorizes the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program to pay out a $300 per week additional benefit for claimants who are eligible for at least $1 of their unemployment compensation benefit amount.

This reauthorized benefit is provided for weeks of unemployment starting with the week ending Jan. 2, 2021. The last payable week is the week ending March 13, 2021.

Those who meet the eligibility requirements will get the $300 benefit without taking any additional steps. However, claimants should continue to file their weekly claims.

For the thousands of Kansans waiting to have their unemployment claims addressed, that money has arrived. In a press conference Thursday, Governor Laura Kelly said the department is not far from paying out extended benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We are up and ready to go with the $300 extra money from the federal department of labor,” Gov. Kelly said. “I think those checks will start going out as early as tomorrow, ” Gov. Kelly said Thursday afternoon.

The extra $300 payments are part of the federal assistance provided through FPUC, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Labor said the following in an email Thursday when asked about the status of extension benefits noted in the Continued Assistance Act, which gives states the option to extend benefits for PEUC, Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and PUA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

“In terms of the Continued Assistance Act, we have received guidance from U.S.DOL and are in the process of moving forward on implementing those programs. In the very near future, we will be announcing next steps on those programs.”

The Continued Assistance Act also creates a new program, MEUC, Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, providing an additional $100 per week payment to individuals who are receiving regular UI benefits and earned at least $5,000 in net earnings from self-employment in the tax year prior to the individual’s initial claim.

The department told Kansas’ Capitol Bureau Friday, that they plan to implement all programs by the end of February.

We hope to have all programs live by the end of 02/2021, which is similar to other states’ timelines.

-KAnsas department of labor

As of Tuesday, the department’s regular unemployment insurance backlog stands at about 66 claims. The department has hired 450 new temporary employees in the call center to address claimants. But, thousands of claimants are still going without pay, as the department tackles a high volume of unemployment and fraud claims.

Kansas’ Capitol Bureau reached out to the department for an update on the status of fraud, unemployment insurance and other federal programs Thursday. See their list of updated information in the document below.

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