The COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress only needs to be signed by President Donald Trump to extend unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans, but Alabamians may experience delays in their payments while the Alabama Department of Labor awaits federal guidelines.
“ADOL is currently awaiting additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to implement these CARES Act extensions in Alabama, and we cannot begin paying benefits under these new and extended programs until that guidance has been received,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
The payments are scheduled to begin on Dec. 27. Claimants should continue their weekly certifications as usual so that there won’t be any weeks missed when ADOL starts issuing the payments, the agency said.
There is no provision for retroactive weeks. The legislation includes new requirements to qualify for benefits under federal programs.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation:
- 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.
- Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020, and the week ending March 13, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
- Weekly certification will be required.
- Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021.
- PUA will be available until the week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date), with an 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
- 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 after 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.
The legislation requires that states 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,” ADOL said.