La. officials provide update on unemployment benefits

La. officials provide update on unemployment benefits
COVID-19 Response and Resources (Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission)

UPDATE:

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards said April 8 Louisiana has received the federal funding needed to start paying the additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits on top of the state rate.

Edwards says those additional benefits will start to be paid out on Monday, April 13. The governor encourages

ORIGINAL:

The head of the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), the agency that handles unemployment claims, said Tuesday, April 7 that she and her staff are committed to “helping each and every Louisiana citizen” in need of unemployment benefits. LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie added that the number of citizens seeking unemployment is “unprecedented” and that has led to delays in getting certain claims processed.

COVID-19 Response and Resources
COVID-19 Response and Resources (Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission)

The maximum weekly benefit from the State of Louisiana is $247.

Dejoie says the state is still awaiting word from the federal government about when an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment will be paid to applicants in Louisiana. Some other states are set to begin those payments this week.

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The U.S. Department of Labor says those eligible for the extra money will receive retroactive payments back to either their date of eligibility or the date they signed their state agreement, whichever came later. The additional $600 per week is set to expire with the last week of unemployment benefits before July 31, 2020.

COVID-19 Response and Resources
COVID-19 Response and Resources (Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission)

Louisiana residents who qualify for unemployment benefits include those who have been laid off, have had their hours reduced, or have been mandated to stay home by their employer, the government, or a healthcare professional.

Those trying to reach the LWC by phone are encountering issues at times. In some cases, for example, the automated system will answer and gather personal information only to then announce that a live operator is not currently available.

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“There will be delays as we are working to help each and every citizen,” Dejoie said. “We are doing our absolute best.”

Dejoie says as of Tuesday morning, 186,000 applicants had successfully completed their required weekly certification in order to get unemployment benefits for next week. She pointed to that large number as a success story within her agency as the team works to process as many claims as possible.

COVID-19 Response and Resources
COVID-19 Response and Resources (Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission)

Even though the LWC has temporarily waived the job search requirement, recipients must still check in weekly to continue to get benefits.They can complete their weekly update between 12:01 a.m. Sunday and 11:59 p.m. Saturday to be eligible for the following week.

The fastest way to do that weekly check is online via the Louisiana Workforce Commission website.

However, Secretary Dejoie says even the LWC website experiences slowdowns and the best time to use the online service is between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily.

The LWC call center is now open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m, seven days per week. It will also be open on Good Friday. The state has added additional employees to the LWC to process claims, bringing to total number to 400.

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