State hits another historical milestone in unemployment claims

(Source: MGN Photo - Julie Chasen / MGN)
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -- The latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Labor show over 16,000 new COVID-related unemployment claims were filed just last week and payouts hit another historical milestone.

“ADOL has dispersed more than $1 billion in COVID related benefits since March 16th. This number represents more dollars released into the economy than we’ve paid out in the last 6 years,” said Tara Hutchison, Alabama Department of Labor.

Over 200,000 people received a portion of that $1 billion assistance with $320 million of that coming from the state and the remainder was funded by federal money from the CARES Act.

State leaders reported just a slight increase of the number of claims paid over the course of May. 84 percent was paid in early May - it’s now up by just 4 percent. The state says the slow increase is due to dealing with more complicated claims --- or people need to update their claim.

“The vast majority of people who haven’t been paid yet is because they haven’t filed their weekly certification which means we can’t pay them,” said Hutchison. “They may have filed an initial claim, but aren’t going back every week to say they need to get paid.”

The more complicated claims are being processed on a rolling basis because they require more information and the person who filed should get an alert that they will be contacted by the labor department or their employer will be contacted.

For those requiring immediate assistance and can travel - ADOL is offering in person help at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Staff are able to process between 400 - 500 claims daily.

In the meantime, they’re urging you to continue to file online and use they online tracker to see your updated payment status or to submit updated documentation.

ADOL is in the process of training staff this week to open another call center next week and launch a live chat option where you can work with someone virtually to get questions answered.

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