Unemployment Pay Near $2 Billion; State Still Overwhelmed

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in mid-March, Alabama has paid nearly $2 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 308,000 people, and state officials say they are still struggling to answer the flood of applicant calls.

To date, “95 percent of active Covid-related claims have been paid,” says Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Wallace.

Money to fund the benefits has come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act through its Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

“We acknowledge that there are still many unemployed Alabamians out there who continue to need our help,” says Washington. “They may have issues with existing claims, or may need to update their information, or they just simply have questions.

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“We know that it remains difficult to contact us,” Washington added. “The new call center that opened earlier this month is now running at full capacity, and our live chat feature is also up and running. We continue to be overwhelmed with calls and requests, with more than 210,000 calls coming in daily. However, we are committed to providing all Alabamians assistance and continue to work diligently to do so.”

Between March 16 and June 17, the department received claims from 428,387 people and more than 308,000 have received benefits.

For the latest claims data, check this Department of Labor data site: http://www2.labor.alabama.gov/Laus/InitialClaimsPaidTab.aspx

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