Department of Labor says claimants could see interruption in unemployment benefits

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – News 19 got numerous calls and emails from viewers who are having complications with their unemployment. Several people said they are fearful they are being told to reapply for unemployment compensation and fear an interruption in benefits.

News 19 reached out to the Alabama Department of Labor. ADOL explained why some people might have to wait for their money for a couple of weeks.

Despite Congress passing the American Rescue Plan that included an extension of unemployment aid, unemployment claimants in Alabama could be experiencing an interruption in benefits for a different reason.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. The plan aims to speed up the United States’ economic recovery from the pandemic.

The plan keeps the current weekly enhancement on unemployment aid at $300 until Labor Day. It also extends the CARES Act programs for the long-term unemployed until September.

The Alabama Department of Labor says at the end of each year (a 52 week period) a new claim must be filed to re-determine eligibility, regardless of the program someone is receiving benefits under, that includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

ADOL says there are a lot of people who are coming up on the one-year mark around the same time.

“Why on earth were we not given prior notification in ample time so our benefits were not sliced off at the last possible second with no warning on Easter weekend?” says unemployment claimant Susen Corbett.

ADOL says for most people, if their financial situations remain the same, they will likely revert back to the program they were on but there can be a 2-3 week interruption in payments while ADOL re-processes the claim.

“Now they are saying it could be 21 days it could be never. You know what creditors are not going to wait 21 days,” says claimant Raechel Feres.

Claimants are seeing various reasons on their portal for why their new claims are pending, including lack of work and account review required.

ADOL says as soon as they verify with the employer that the pandemic is the reason for the layoff, payments should resume.

In the meantime, ADOL says people can continue to file their weekly certifications and backpay can be issued for the missed weeks.

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