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LWC awaits finalizations on COVID Relief Bill from Congress before extra $300 in unemployment benefits can be paid out

(KNOE)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 5:41 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Workforce Commission awaits congress’ finalizations on COVID Relief Bill before they can start giving out the extra $300.

President Trump signed off on the original relief, which includes a $300 boost to federal unemployment help, and extended many of the benefits of the CARES Act.

However, many in Louisiana are wondering when will they get the additional funding or if there will be a payment gap. Several across the state remain unemployed and rely on federal funding, like Jenny Fontenot.

Fontenot has been unemployed for 11 months. She is a videographer for nonprofits in the Baton Rouge area. Ever since the CARES Act expired and her unemployment benefits ended, she’s been hoping congress passes an extension through the new COVID Relief bill. Until then, she’s worried she might not be able to pay her bills on time.

“Few weeks, I’ve been trying to work and figure out whether we were going to get paid or not, and just kind of been taking one day at a time,” says Fontenot.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), those who are certified for federal funding will eventually get benefits back once congress makes a final decision. LWC also says there won’t be any payment gaps.

“The US Department of Labor informed Louisiana and all states yesterday that when the president signed on Sunday that begins as a new week. So, therefore, even though the programs ended of the last week payable was on Saturday with him signing on Sunday, they interpret that there would not be a gap,” says Ava Dejoie who is the secretary of the LWC.

For now, the state is waiting on the government to finalize guidelines mean to protect people from identity theft and prevent people who are out of work from refusing employment just to stay on benefits. The only delay those on benefits might see is the timing of the “plus up,” of $300.

“A $300 payment will not appear for at least seven to 10 days, but just continue to do your weekly certifications as it is required,” adds Dejoie.

LWC’s biggest reminder to the public, people do not need to file a new claim. Instead, continue to re-certify, folks’ normal routine they have been doing from the start. This way, they will remain in the system and they will be eligible for benefits.

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