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Ala. sees lowest initial unemployment claims since pandemic began

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 10:03 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - After months of abnormally high unemployment claims, the state received its lowest number of initial claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

About 7,800 claims were filed for the week ending in Aug. 28. Out of that number, about 4,400 were COVID-19 related.

Click here to view the number of claims by county.

“Even though things seem to have improved a little bit, we’re certainly still not out of the woods,” said Alabama Department of Labor spokeswoman Tara Hutchison.

There are still about 150,000 continued claims, which means the state is still dishing out millions of dollars for those who are unemployed or underemployed and have had their wages reduced.

“So we’re doing we’re continue to work as hard as we possibly can,” Hutchison said. “And to come up with even more plans and options to make everything to make the payments come faster.”

The federal government is giving some unemployed Alabamians a boost of $300 on top of the current state money they receive. That money was sent out last Friday and should be hitting people’s bank accounts.

For those who are eligible, they would receive $1,200 from the federal government to cover four weeks beginning Aug. 1.

To be eligible for the new benefit, recipients must receive at least $100 in an approved Unemployment Compensation (UC) program weekly benefit amount and must certify they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“If someone hasn’t received that yet, it’s probably likely due to yesterday being a banking holiday, which could could delay payments a little bit,” Hutchison said.

She said ADOL needs to continue applying to FEMA every week in order to keep sending out those extra $300 from the feds.

The state’s trust fund that dishes out unemployment funds, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, is rapidly declining. It’s now left with about $155 million and previously had about $700 million prior to the pandemic.

Hutchison said it could be as little as four weeks before that money runs out. ADOL has begun the process to borrow money from the federal government once that $155 million is gone.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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