Wichita artist says he is waiting for 36 weeks worth of unemployment benefits from KDOL

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — All federal pandemic unemployment programs will expire on September 4, 2021. 

People already getting state and federal funds will see some changes to their payouts, but what happens to those still in limbo, waiting for their claim to be processed? 

Some Kansans, like Collin Allen, are concerned they will never see the money from the Kansas Department of Labor.

“I should have been eligible for the extension,” said Allen. 

Allen is an artist from Wichita. But, unfortunately, he has had very little work since the pandemic first shut everything down in March of 2020.

“It’s hard to justify, you know, people going out to an art show or spending money on things right now when there’s more important stuff,” he continued.

As soon as he could, he filed for assistance.

“Lots of PUC specialists told me everything’s in order. We just need to wait, and that became a cycle,” he added.

Still waiting, he said KDOL owes him 36 weeks of unemployment benefits.

“I just filed an appeal about that, trying to resolve the situation. I still have not heard back,” he claimed.

Peter Brady, Kansas Department of Labor deputy secretary, says that although federal funds are expiring, qualifying claimants will receive all the money owed.  

“If they’re found eligible for any weeks in that time period, those will be paid out with that additional money regardless of when the actual payment occurs,” said Brady.

That would include $300 additional per week the feds have provided but only for eligible claims before September 4.

“After September 4, we will go back to the pre-pandemic state of the unemployment process,” he added.

Claimants like Allen aren’t don’t have much faith in the process.

“I don’t know if we’re going to get paid in the end. I truly hope that people do because there are so many people in need right now,” he concluded. 

Brady said there are about 14,000 people currently claiming PUC or PEUC funds. However, the number does not include the number of claimants waiting to see if they are eligible for benefits. 

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