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President Joe Biden and the Democrats hope to receive $ 1.9 trillion in additional pandemic aid, including additional unemployment benefits.
Still, many unemployed have not yet received benefit payments from the last stimulus package, which former President Trump signed more than a month ago.
States such as California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and Virginia have not provided this assistance to some groups of workers, according to their respective employment offices.
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The $ 900 billion bailout, passed in late December, extended unemployment benefits by eleven weeks and increased wages by $ 300 a week.
Many states have provided this assistance to workers in phases as they adapt their systems to take into account different pieces of legislation.
As a result, some groups have waited longer than others.
“The complexity of some additional specifications is difficult to program and will not only add to the burden for us [unemployment insurance] Employees, but also applicants, “Georgia’s Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in January.
Some of these updates are still ongoing, the Georgia Department of Labor said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Biden’s plan would extend unemployment benefits through September, adding $ 400 a week to wages.
Exhausted unemployment benefits
Delays seem to be most common among workers who have been on benefits since the spring and “exhausted” their aid – meaning they have reached the maximum number of weeks allowed under the CARES Act.
This federal law limited the duration of assistance through two temporary programs: Pandemic Unemployment Benefit, which pays benefits to self-employed and others who are not eligible for typical government assistance, and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides additional weeks of government benefits to the long-term unemployed.
It appears that it has taken longer to resume work than other workers who have not yet reached their peak weeks.
Colorado, for example, began providing aid to workers on Monday – with the exception of workers who had exhausted the PUA and PEUC benefits.
The date for this “phase 2 rollout” has not yet been set, according to a post on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website.
Californians who have reached their limits face a similar situation, according to a spokesman for the employment development division who did not offer a schedule for system updates.
Virginia and Hawaii began paying those who had exhausted PUA benefits but not those who had run out of PEUC long-term unemployment benefits.
Hawaii will soon start paying for these benefits, said William Kuntsman, a spokesman for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. He didn’t offer a specific schedule.
Virginia officials originally planned to make the payments on January 29th. However, according to the Employment Commission website, “the implementation date has changed”. A speaker did not immediately return a request for comment.
The $ 900 billion pandemic relief package placed additional requirements on some workers to continue receiving aid. For example, PUA recipients must submit documents to prove their independence. (The timeframe differs for new applicants and those who have collected.)
Indiana officials will pay PUA benefits once these requirements are met. These “coupons” were made available to workers in the state beginning Jan. 29, according to the Department of Human Resources Development.
“The additional requirements need to be incorporated before eligible payments can be released,” Butler said of Georgia.
These include increased identification verification requirements, a new mechanism for employers to report denials and failures to return to work, and additional measures to detect fraud, he said.