(The Center Square) – Unemployed Louisiana residents have begun receiving an additional $300 in weekly benefits provided by the federal government, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) said Monday.
The LWC has distributed about $7 billion to nearly 700,000 Louisianans since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the commission said. Most of that money has consisted of federal dollars, although the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund was tapped out during the pandemic, forcing the state to borrow from the federal government to pay legally required benefits.
Though the original federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs that made the additional benefits available expired Dec. 26, the replacement bill was signed the following day and recipients will not miss a payment, the LWC said. CARES Act recipients will have their prior claim restored and will be able to continue receiving benefits as before.
The $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments will be an addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount in any of the following programs:
• State Unemployment Insurance;
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation;
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance;
• Extended Benefits;
• Disaster Unemployment Assistance;
• Trade Readjustment Assistance.
New unemployment claims ticked up during the week that ended Dec. 26 to 8,246 from the previous week’s total of 7,926, the LWC reported Monday. For a pre-pandemic comparison, during the week ending Dec. 28, 2019, 1,469 initial claims were filed.
Continued claims for the week ending Dec. 26 decreased to 60,641 from the previous week’s total of 64,448. The continued claims were above the comparable figure of 15,270 for the week ending Dec. 28, 2019, the commission said.