Unemployment benefits to increase in Louisiana beginning Monday

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Unemployment benefits in Louisiana are increasing for new claimants eligible for maximum benefits starting January 2.

“It’s the first increase we have seen in the maximum unemployment benefit in over a decade,” said Chris Fiore, Director of Public Information for the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

New claimants eligible for maximum benefits will see an 11% increase from $247 a month to $275.

“Say you are working a job that you lose and you don’t qualify for the maximum benefit, then you are not going to see an increase, so this is just for folks who qualify for that maximum benefit,” explained Fiore.

Even with the increase, Louisiana still has one of the lowest benefit amounts in the country. Fiore says it’s still a step in the right direction.

“Every little bit makes a difference for families that are in need of assistance or somebody that just lost a job who needs a little bit of help putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head,” Fiore told KNOE.

On the idea that increasing benefits may incentivize people to work, Fiore said people said the same thing regarding the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

“And what we saw when those ended was not the kind of return to the workforce that I think some folks who were critical of those benefits were expecting to see,” said Fiore.

Fiore added that unemployment is not a long-term solution, instead of a stop-gap measure.

“Work is our middle name,” said Fiore. “The folks at the Louisiana Workforce Commission come to work every single day with a goal of putting Louisianans’ to work.”

A person receiving unemployment must apply to three jobs a week to maintain their eligibility.

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