Following guidance received from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Utah Department of Workforce Services has successfully implemented two of the three extended federal unemployment programs included in the Continued Assistance Act of 2020, according to an announcement in a Jan. 7 press release.
One program includes a weekly unemployment benefit of $300 for eligible claimants.
Eligible Utahns began receiving these unemployment benefits starting Jan. 3, 2021. The two programs are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides an additional 11 weeks of federal unemployment benefits to individuals not otherwise eligible for state unemployment and who are unable to work due to COVID-19, including the self-employed and gig workers.
This program has been extended to eligible individuals for up to 50 weeks or until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provides a weekly stimulus unemployment benefit of $300 to eligible claimants for up to 11 weeks beginning with the week ending Jan. 2, 2021 to be paid out the following week of Jan. 3-9, 2021. The weekly payments will continue until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
Department of Workforce Services officials are working on implementing a third program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provides an additional 13 weeks of federal emergency unemployment benefits for individuals who remain unemployed after they have exhausted their state unemployment benefits.
This program has been extended to eligible individuals for up to 24 weeks or until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
“Thanks to the quick and efficient work of staff, we are now issuing payments for two of the three federal unemployment programs made available to Utahns through the Continued Assistance Act,” reported Kevin Burt, DWS Unemployment Insurance Division director. “We recognize these benefits are an ongoing need for individuals who are struggling to become re-employed and we are working diligently to make all of the extended federal programs available as soon as possible.”
More information about these federal unemployment programs, individuals can be found at jobs.utah.gov/covid19/covidui.html.
Additional DWS information and resources are available at jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for individuals navigating the unemployment claims process.
Individuals should continue to apply online and file their weekly claim. If there is an issue or any question about their claim Workforce Services will contact the individual. There is no need for the individual to contact the department, according to the DWS.
Claimants are encouraged and required to search for work, so they can secure employment before their time-limited benefits end.
Once a claimant exhausts their benefits, they are not eligible for any other unemployment program. However, applications for other safety net programs, such as food, medical, rent and energy assistance, are available at jobs.utah.gov.
If an individual’s employment has been impacted by COVID-19, they should visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for updated information including help for employees and employers returning to work.