WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) With 1.6 million calls to the Kansas Department of Labor on Monday alone, many questions continue with the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a record number of claims.
The department of labor held a town hall Wednesday with an update, including guidance on two of the most-asked questions: “Where is the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits?” And, “Will you get an extension if you applied for benefits last year?”
The state will add $600 to your unemployment check each week with a program that is not yet operational. However, the state does say the benefits will start in the next two weeks.
You are eligible for additional benefits if you already receive state benefits, and those who are self employed and traditionally would not qualify for state benefits.
The state says these payments are retroactive, dating back to March 29 and benefits will expire the last week of July.
“If everything works properly, we expect in a week or two, I.T. will have those payments coming to your debit card or into your bank account,” says Shawn Yancy, unemployment insurance deputy director with the Kansas Department of Labor. “We know we’ve had some I.T. problems lately. That could take a little bit longer, but I do want to reassure everybody there is nothing additional you have to do to receive this benefit.”
The unemployment boost is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by President Trump in late March. The legislation also includes a 13-week extension in unemployment benefits.
The State of Kansas last month, passed a 10-week unemployment extension for laid-off workers who filed a claim on or after January 1, but this extension left some people out. The state bill does not include people who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits and can’t get a job now.
If this is your case, here’s how the federal extension could help you. If you have exhausted your benefits for the year through the state, you are now eligible for the 13-week extension through the CARES Act.
This is something the State of Kansas is trying to push through as soon as possible.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program is meant to benefit those who are self-employed or independent contractors, If this includes you, you need to first apply for unemployment insurance to get the benefit.
“The first thing you do is file you unemployment claim,” Yancy says. “The program does require you to be able to demonstrate ineligibility for unemployment benefits or your entitlement. So we do need you to file a claim and get that denial in the mail from us.”
If there are any questions about eligibility when it comes to unemployment claims, the Kansas Department of Labor urges everyone to file a claim through its website and labor department employees will determine what you’re eligible for and then direct you to further applications, if needed.