Utah to include additional bump to weekly unemployment benefits through July

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Utah will be one of the first states in the nation to include an additional bump to unemployment payments as part of the federal government CARES Act.

The new payment is going through the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Individuals who are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will now receive an additional $600 as part of their weekly benefits. These payments will continue through the last week of July 2020.

Brooke Porter Coles, public information officer with Workforce Services, told St. George News that if a person has filed for or is receiving unemployment benefits, there is no additional action needed to receive the stimulus payment other than the requirement to file their weekly claims.

“This is meant to supplement unemployment insurance benefits,” Coles said. “The benefits are not meant to be a wage replacement. They are meant to provide people with resources until going back to work.”

Between March 22-28 there were 1,706 new unemployment claims in Washington County, which landed the county in the top 5 highest unemployment claims in the state for the second straight week. That same week saw 402 claims in Iron County.

The following week, from March 29 to April 4, there were 1,748 new claims in Washington County and 321 in Iron County.

The major sectors of claims submitted in both counties were in retail trade, business services and hospitality.

“Many of the people who have filed for benefits are job attached,” Coles said, “meaning they are expected to return to work once things begin to normalize.”

The benefit will be retroactively provided to individuals that received unemployment benefits during the week of March 29 through April.

Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Department of Workforce Services, said in a press release that their department continues to experience “unprecedented demands on our staff and system” but that they will continue to process claims while implementing the new benefit.

“Our priority is getting Utahns the benefits they are in need of in as timely a manner as possible,” Burt said.

Additional information and resources are available online.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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