Business

Iowa says federal unemployment programs will be implemented next week

State agency says Iowans will receive payments five to seven business days later

A #x201c;now hiring#x201d; sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie's Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Cora
A “now hiring” sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie’s Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville in September. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa Workforce Development plans to implement extensions of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance next week, the agency said Thursday morning.

Unemployed Iowans will receive the benefits after another five to seven business days.

The PEUC implementation will be Tuesday, Feb. 16, and the PUA implementation will be Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The federal stimulus bill that included PEUC and PUA extensions was signed on Dec. 27, but IWD needed to make “programming changes” before Iowans who previously had exhausted their PEUC and PUA benefits could receive payments again.

The state agency said it automatically will enroll any eligible Iowans, so there is no need to reapply for the benefits.

IWD still is working to reissue debit cards after it gave incorrect data to U.S. Bank while changing card providers last month.

It believes cards have either arrived or are in production for more than 80 percent of unemployed Iowans who receive payments via debit card.

It comes as new and continuing unemployment claims both increased between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6.

New claims jumped from 5,778 to 6,173, and continuing claims rose from 45,803 to 48,701.

About 67.5 percent of claims were not related to coronavirus, according to IWD.

Construction was the largest source of claims with 1,176, followed by self-employed and independent contractors with 1,095, manufacturing with 732, retail trade with 462, and health care and social assistance with 457.

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The claims resulted in $16.6 million in standard unemployment benefits, $19.2 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $4.5 million in PUA benefits and $2.9 million in PEUC benefits.

These numbers are preliminary and are yet to be adjusted by the U.S. Department of Labor. They also only include people actively seeking work and therefore do not necessarily give a full picture of how many people are out of work and may have cycled out of the system or have stopped looking for employment.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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