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ADOL Begins Paying Federal $600 Stimulus Benefit

Alabama has begun paying the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit.

Established with the passing of the federal CARES Act on March 27, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington made the announcement today. Currently, according to ADOL, there are 544 unemployment insurance claims in Escambia County as of April 4.

ADOL began paying the FPUC benefits on April 8, 2020.  According to ADOL, claimants whose claims have processed should expect to see the funds within 2-3 days, if not sooner. ADOL paid $40,060,495 in FPUC benefits to 60,848 claimants yesterday.

Under the legislation, anyone receiving unemployment compensation benefits is eligible for the additional $600 a week stimulus payment. This payment is added to the recipient’s state weekly benefit amount ranging from $45 to $275. The payments will be made for eligible weeks beginning on March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

This does not refer to the date the original claim was filed, but to the weeks being claimed.  For example, if someone filed their initial claim on March 16, 2020, and remains out of work, they will not receive the additional $600 for the weeks beginning March 15 or March 22, but would receive it for the week beginning March 29, and all weeks going forward.

“We understand the frustration of many Alabamians who are out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we know that they need these benefits to stay afloat,” said Washington.  “We are working as hard as we can to make sure that everyone gets the benefits they need as quickly as they can.  We are one of the first states to begin distributing these funds. We continue to urge patience as the department works to implement this vital legislation.”

Programs included in the legislation:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees. This benefit is retroactive to January 27, 2020.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – provides $600 per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs. This benefit begins March 29, 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances.

ADOL advised that those who already have an active claim, or who have already filed a claim are not to refile to be eligible for these benefits.  ADOL will begin processing PUA and PEUC claims as soon as administratively possible.

ADOL also specified those eligible for the program. The statement read, “None of the benefits described above, nor unemployment benefits of any kind, are available to employees who quit without good work-related cause, refuse to return to work, or refuse to receive full-time pay. Refusing to return to work could result in a disqualification for benefit eligibility.  Attempts to collect unemployment benefits after quitting a job without good work-related cause is considered to be fraud. The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement, and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid.   Employers are encouraged to utilize the New Hire system to report those employees who fail to return to work.”

ADOL is encouraging anyone who believes they may be eligible for these programs to file a claim at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is strongly encouraged.

The chart below shows a summary of the benefits and eligibility.