The new coronavirus relief bill signed by President Trump will extend benefits for thousands of Delawareans claiming unemployment during the pandemic.
The $2.3 trillion package extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program which offers benefits to those who don’t traditionally qualify for unemployment. It also revives extended benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.
The bill comes just as both programs came to an end on the 26th. Now each program will extend for another 11 weeks.
Delaware Division of Unemployment Director Darryl Scott says Delawareans who had active claims in those programs will continue to receive benefits seamlessly. He adds those who exhausted their claims or stopped filing before the 26th will also soon have their claims reinstated.
“We’re currently looking at those individuals and trying to figure out how quickly we can resume their benefits,” said Scott.
The state’s three-month average unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent earlier this month, triggering the end of a federal extended benefits program here.
Scott says the extension of the PEUC will help the 4,000 Delawareans who would’ve missed out on extended benefits.
“For those individuals, we’re trying to figure out whether there’ll be a gap as they manage that transition from extended benefits to PEUC,” said Scott. “There is light at the end of the tunnel in that there are going to be weeks of benefits available to those individuals. And, again, we’re looking at the process and assistance to try to figure out how we manage that transition as quickly as possible.”
The new relief package also reinstates the extra benefits for unemployment insurance to add an extra $300 a week. In the Spring it was for $600.
It also has some new programs Scott says his division is working to figure out how to implement, including new programs for self-employed individuals.
As of the 12th of this month the state has received more than 13,000 PUA claims and Delawareans have been paid out more than $95 million through the program.
Scott encourages those looking for updates in unemployment benefits to visit the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance website.