Unemployment benefits receive federal boost

Help has arrived for the unemployed in the state of Louisiana. Residents have begun receiving an additional $300.00 in weekly benefits through the help of the federal government, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC).

The LWC has distributed about $7 billion to nearly 700,000 Louisianans since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Most of that money has consisted of federal dollars as the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund was tapped out during the pandemic, forcing the state to borrow from the federal government to pay the legally required benefits.

Though the original federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs that made the additional benefits available expired Dec. 26, the replacement bill was signed the following day and recipients will not miss a payment, the LWC said. CARES Act recipients will have their prior claim restored and will be able to continue receiving benefits as before.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments will be an addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount in any of the following programs: State Unemployment Insurance; Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance; Extended Benefits; Disaster Unemployment Assistance; Trade Readjustment Assistance.

New unemployment claims ticked up during the week that ended Dec. 26 to 8,246 from the previous week’s total of 7,926, the LWC reported Monday. For a pre-pandemic comparison, during the week ending Dec. 28, 2019, 1,469 initial claims were filed.

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