Help is on the way for unemployed Alabamaians

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Department of Labor announced Thursday that Alabama has begun paying the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit that was established with the passing of the federal CARES Act on March 27.

ADOL began paying the FPUC benefits on April 8. 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.

The ADOL says anyone receiving unemployment compensation is eligible for the additional $600 a week stimulus payment.

Just three weeks ago. Kelsey Sheppard’s business, First Place Barbershop, was booming with costumers. Now, Sheppard’s shop is closed and his barbers are out of work.

“We knew it was coming but we didn’t know that it would come so suddenly. I mean it affected us pretty quick within a span of two weeks,” said Sheppard.

When it comes to unemployment, he’s technically is own employer.

“As a self-employed barber, we’re not an hourly wage, we kind of make our money per customer,” said Sheppard.

There’s now a program for people like Sheppard, called 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.

This new program will allows people who are self employed, contract employees and some part time workers get unemployment benefits.

“We understand how difficult a time this is for everyone. In a lot of cases these are people that have never had to file for this before, never used the system,” said Tara Hutchison with ADOL.

If you receive both state and federal benefits you will get $875 a week.

It’s important to note that the unemployment stimulus checks from the federal government will be taxed.

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

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

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.

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