After some delay, Wyomingites on unemployment insurance should begin to receive $600 weekly payments from the federal government by the “middle of next week,” officials from the Department of Workforce Services said Friday.
“The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is working tirelessly around the clock to provide these additional financial resources to our Wyoming neighbors,” Programs Administrator Holly McKamey Simoni said in a statement. “The $600 per week addition will be applied to unemployment benefits automatically. Those who are receiving unemployment benefits already do not have to do anything to get these funds.”
According to a news release, benefits are retroactive to the week of March 29 and will be in effect through July 25. Those already registered to receive unemployment insurance through the department should see the amounts reflected in their next payment and are asked not to call the office.
Taxes — as well as child support payments, when applicable — will be automatically applied to the $600 amount, meaning the actual payments will be approximately $540 or less for beneficiaries.
The payments, part of a larger emergency aid package passed by Congress late last month, were supposed to take effect as of April 8. However, they have been delayed in numerous states across the country as state unemployment offices worked through technological disparities that made implementation challenging, leading to some lag in benefits.
Ty Stockton, the communications manager for the Department of Workforce Services, said the department is not anticipating any future issues in distributing the funds to unemployed workers and that the department has been shoring up its workforce to handle additional claims as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
“We’re hoping things run smoothly,” he wrote in an email to the Star-Tribune. “The more people we can get to file their claims online at wyui.wyo.gov, the better, because that will keep the phone lines open for those who do not have internet access or have questions as they’re filing their online claims, but we are also working on getting more people answering more phones to better help those who are filing claims.”
Friday’s announcement comes as the number of unemployed people in Wyoming continues to grow at record rates.
According to new numbers released by the department’s resource and planning office Thursday, while the number of initial claims for the week ending April 11 had fallen from the previous week by roughly 25 percent — to 4,873 – the overall number of unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits has continued to rise, reaching to just under 12,700 last week — a 38 percent week-over-week increase.
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