As states begin issuing extra unemployment benefits offered by a recent Covid relief measure, many workers will be left waiting a while for aid to arrive.
Some, such as those residing in Virginia and Oklahoma, may not get a deposit until the end of January.
Many of them will have gone at least a month without any income support. They’d be eligible for back pay to Jan. 2, however.
States must tweak their systems to account for new rules, an exercise that’s proving harder for some to do quickly, especially for certain groups of workers.
A long lag seems to apply most to one subset of people: those who exhausted their entitlement to aid through two federal programs before the end of December.
In general, such workers would have tapped jobless benefits in the early days of the pandemic and gotten funds for a maximum 39 weeks.
The programs, created by the CARES Act, lapsed the day after Christmas. The new $900 billion relief law extended them to mid-March (and into April for some people).
Virginia officials plan to re-start aid on Jan. 29 for people who’d exhausted these benefits, according to an update posted Wednesday on the state Employment Commission website.
Meanwhile, the state began disbursing funds last week to workers who hadn’t yet run out of their initial allotment of PEUC, and will do so Thursday for those who hadn’t maxed out PUA benefits.
Oklahoma is also issuing funds in phases. People who’d maxed out their benefits will be among the last to receive fresh assistance, likely around Jan. 24, according to the state’s Employment Security Commission. The state also aims to start paying a $300 federal supplement to benefits on that date.
By Friday, the state had already issued benefits to about 35,000 people who hadn’t maxed out, the Commission said.
“We identified these claim types as ones that could be paid out with the guidance we have on hand and did not want to hold these benefits back to wait on other updates needed,” Shelley Zumwalt, the agency’s executive director, said.
In Texas, there are roughly 68,000 people who exhausted benefits between October and December, according to Cisco Gamez, a spokesman for the state Workforce Commission, which is also issuing benefits in phases.
Such workers require additional attention since some will have returned to work and may not be unemployed, he said.
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