TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Labor is currently reviewing the unemployment extension provisions contained in H.R. 133. These extended provisions will provide additional unemployment compensation to unemployed Kansans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also include new requirements that must be met to qualify to receive benefits from the federal programs outlined within the act.
KDOL is currently awaiting additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor USDOL on how to implement these CARES Act extensions in Kansas. The agency will not be able to issue payments under the new program changes until this guidance has been issued, which may take up to two weeks. Existing programs and payments will not be impacted. While the agency waits for that guidance, it is diligently working to build additional capacity within its legacy computer systems to process the revised federal benefits and bring much-needed relief to eligible claimants.
The relevant programs and changes include:
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
• Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
• A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program to receive FPUC.
• The weeks ending Jan. 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021, are eligible for FPUC. Once the program is implemented, claimants who are eligible for those weeks will receive an additional $300 payment.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
• Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
• PUA will be available until the week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications beyond that date), with allowance for three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through the week ending April 3, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
• Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks.
• PEUC will be available until the week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications beyond that date), with allowance of three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through the week ending April 3, 2021.
Also included in the legislation:
Return to Work Requirements. States must have methods in place to address claimants who refuse to return to work or refuse to accept an offer of suitable work without good cause.
Identity Verification Requirements. States must also implement additional identity verification measures within the PUA program.
Until KDOL receives the before mentioned guidance for implementation from USDOL, the agency will not be able to provide a definitive timeline for implementation of these new programs. However, we do not anticipate significant disruptions for claimants once the implementation process begins. KDOL will continue to update the public as new information becomes available.
Since March 15, KDOL has paid out more than 3.4 million weekly claims totaling over $2.4 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs. For more information, or to apply for unemployment benefits, go to www.GetKansasBenefits.gov.