CORONAVIRUS

Iowa still making 'programming changes' before some can receive federal unemployment benefits

New unemployment claims drop, continuing claims rise the week of Jan. 17

A man wears a mask while walking under a
A man wears a mask while walking under a “Now Hiring” sign at a CVS Pharmacy in May 2020. (Associated Press)

Iowa Workforce Development said Thursday it is working on “necessary programming changes” before it can process new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.

Anyone already receiving PUA or PEUC benefits on Dec. 27 when the assistance was extended has been receiving benefits, Iowa Workforce Development said.

IWD issued about $4.5 million in PUA benefits and $3.9 million in PEUC benefits last week.

Those who have exhausted their PUA and PEUC benefits earlier in 2020 or didn’t apply before Dec. 27 still are without assistance, though.

“IWD is working diligently to release all eligible payments as quickly as possible, including any additional weeks of benefits a claimant could potentially be eligible for with the implementation of the additional weeks for the program extension,” the state agency said in a news release.

It did not provide a timeline for when the guidance would be implemented.

The delay in PUA and PEUC benefits comes as unemployment claims increased the week of Jan. 17.

New claims dropped from 6,380 to 5,510 while continuing claims rose from 46,014 to 47,154. Those numbers may decrease after adjustments from the U.S. Department of Labor, though.

About 64.6 percent of claims were not related to coronavirus, though, Iowa Workforce Development said.

Construction was the largest source of claims with 1,001, followed by self-employed and independent contractors with 792, manufacturing with 750, retail trade with 475, and health care and social assistance with 405.

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The claims resulted in $15.8 million in standard unemployment benefits and $18.9 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

These numbers only include people actively seeking work and therefore does not include those who have stopped looking for work or who have cycled out of the system.

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

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