Vermont workers who remain unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic should expect to see a promised amount of extra benefits in the mail this week.
The news came during a news briefing earlier this week, as Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington spoke about the department’s efforts to distribute an additional $300 of weekly benefits to eligible claimants.
“Our goal is still to get at least the first round of checks out this week,” said Harrington.
“We have begun and are collecting the required [COVID-19] qualifying reasons certifications and right now we are working with both our IT staff, as well as our check issuer and the Treasurer’s office, to finalize the payment process.”
In late August, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Vermont for a grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program, allowing the state to provide $300 per week, in addition to the state’s regular benefits, to residents who have been unemployed due to COVID-19. Workers who had below $100 in weekly benefit amounts were excluded from the federal unemployment payment.
The extra benefits will be provided as backpay for the weeks ending on Aug. 1, 8 and 15. In order to be eligible for the federal benefits, claimants are required to complete a COVID-19 qualifying reasons certifications. The Labor Department informed Vermonters they could get certified starting on Sept 10.
For more: FEMA authorizes extra $300 weekly benefit for unemployed Vermonters
“We are encouraging people to certify if they haven’t already because we just don’t know how long the Feds will keep the program open,” Kyle Thweatt, communicators and outreach coordinator for the Labor Department, told the Free Press.
The web portal to access the certification initially experienced technical issues, Thweatt added, due to an overwhelming amount of people logging on at once. That problem has since been resolved, and claimants should
“That shouldn’t be a problem at this point, but if people didn’t get the email or it’s in their spam or whatever that might be, or they don’t have access to internet, we are offering the claimant assistance line for them to call.”
Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.
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