The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) manages the state’s unemployment administration systems which covers standard and enhanced unemployment payments. You can see the updates below for the latest news on processing of the various unemployment programs that are currently in place for local residents and jobless workers.
Alabamans To Lose Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Early – Including $300 Weekly Benefit
Following strong job reports and state wide labor shortages that risk the ongoing economic recovery, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Alabama will end its participation in ALL federally funded pandemic unemployment programs effective the week ending June 19, 2021.
This covers the PUA, PEUC, $300 FPUC and $100 MEUC programs extended under the Biden ARPA stimulus bill discussed below. This action follows actions by several other states that are also ending federally funded pandemic unemployment programs early in order to incentivize workers to return to work. Opponents to this moved had argued that the reason people were not going back to work is due to fears around getting COVID and/or child care constraints.
I will post additional updates but if you see your benefits stopping after June 19th (from week of June 20th) then this will likely be the reason why. Unemployed workers who cannot get a job will then need to rely on traditional state unemployment benefits going forward. PUA claimants in particular are expected to be hard hit by this early end to unemployment benefits (see a discussion on this here).
You can leave your reactions in the comments forum below this article and follow along via the options below.
Biden Stimulus Bill – 2021 Unemployment Program Extensions
Under President Biden’s $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), enhanced unemployment benefits have been extended until September 6th. This includes further extensions to the PUA program, PEUC program, $300 weekly payment under the FPUC program and $100 Mixed Earners (MEUC) program. There were also provisions in the Biden Stimulus package for Unemployment tax breaks on the first $10,200 of benefits received in 2020.
Latest News and Status on PUA, PEUC and $300 FPUC Extensions – Payment and Claim Issues
The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) has now issued formal guidelines to implement the latest round of extensions until September 6th. For those who exhaust their benefits, or have a zero claim balance, after March 14th (when current CAA extensions end) there could be a lapse in benefits as states can update their program/systems to enable the extended weeks of coverage funded under the ARP Program
ADOL has begun processing ARP Extended Benefits and Additional $300 Weekly Benefit from March 19th, 2021. No actions is needed for eligible claimants and payments should start from the week of March 29th. The extensions and additional payment are being added to eligible weeks beginning with week-ending 4/20/21.
“As with previous extensions of pandemic related unemployment benefits, Alabama has been able to respond quickly with little to no delay in payments to those who need them,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Modernizing our system in early January 2020 has certainly helped us to be able to achieve these goals. Alabama had the extensions implemented within three days of receiving guidance from USDOL.”
Despite official guidance, there have been several claimants reporting issues with getting timely payments. This includes this recent comment from Michelle,
Hi, I am so VERY confused & frustrated. Everything I’ve researched on Alabama DOL, they have had there systems updated to transition over for the “American Rescue Plan” when it was to start March 15th (w/e March 20th). Yet, My last payment I received was on 04/06/21 for w/e 04/03/21 on PEUC. I went in to file my weekly claim the next Sunday and all my monies were gone. It said I had no claim on file and to file a new claim. Why did my PEUC not extend over through the ARP? It was supposed to unless I’m completely stupid and missing something (and I’m not STUPID!) I received a letter from AL DOL stating all my benefits will expire with the current program on March 14, 2021 and I can possible collect PUA if eligible for the phase out period till w/e April 10, 2021. There’s no mention of the new relief plan “ARP”. Just to find a job or call for an appointment to talk with the UC claimant line. What do these people not understand?? I’ve worked all my life! I have the credits to retire yet I’m not at retirement age. It’s my money! Our country & government is a joke! PLEASE HELP!!!! This is the last thing I want to deal with but I have bills to pay!
While the extensions are in place, the issue above is likely due to Michelle reaching her benefit year end date (BYE). This means she would likely have to file a new claim and the ADOL will assess if she is eligible for regular unemployment or PEUC. If now, then she will be able to get PUA (assuming job loss reason or unable to go back due to COVID). Additional documentation etc would need to be provided to substantiate the PUA claim, which is likely the cause of delays in her situation.
Alabama Now Paying 2021 Unemployment Program Extensions (PUA, PEUC and FPUC) Under COVID Relief Bill
The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package was passed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, which among several other pandemic relief measures extends and provides additional federal funding for enhanced unemployment benefits. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and a reinstatement, but halving of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program which provides a $300 supplemental weekly unemployment payment.
These programs have been funded and extended for 11 weeks (on top of any state funded extensions), covering the weeks of December 27th, 2020 to April 5th, 2021 (no new claims after March 14th, 2021). To receive the extra $300 FPUC weekly benefits, you must be receiving regular UI, PEUC, EB, or PUA.
Update January 6th, 2021: ADOL announced it has began processing payments for the CARES Act extensions provided for in the recently enacted H.R. 133, including the additional $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment. Claimants who are eligible for these payments will need to take no action other than continuing to file their weekly certifications. ADOL began processing these changes on Tuesday, January 5, and claimants should expect to see payments as soon as this week, depending on their bank’s policies. It was one of the first states to start paying all claimants benefits under the 2021 extended coverage period.
“ADOL worked quickly to implement these new legislative changes, in order to get this aid to struggling Alabamians as fast as possible,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Guidance was received from USDOL on Friday, January 1, and funding was received by Monday, January 4, so in all, ADOL was able to get funds out within five days.”
Final guidelines on these programs and final eligibility including additional document verification procedures to combat Fraud have been issued by the Department of Labor and are being rolled out by ADOL in their systems and programs. The following are updates that have been made per recent news.
UI claimants with existing or expired claim balances should be aware of the following general guidelines:
- PUA and PEUC, FPUC will be automatically added to the claimants’ benefits if they are eligible for the weeks outlined in the new legislation.
- Claimants who will have additional weeks in UI and PUA or PEUC due to state provisions (where applicable) should watch their state agency UI portal or website for updates that will allow additional weeks to be filed (see potential scenarios where you need to take action to get benefits under the new extension)
- Claimants with weeks remaining in UI should continue to file weekly claims if their state UI systems have been updated for the extended coverage period.
- Claimants will receive retroactive payments for all weeks they are eligible.
- Claimants currently receiving benefits through the Extended Benefits program must finish all weeks of EB before receiving additional weeks of PEUC.
I will post additional details as they are released in coming days. So stay tuned for updates.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program – Now Complete
Alabama has completed paying out the $300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. They must all be getting over $100 from existing unemployment programs to qualify for this payment.
The ADOL has said they have made all 6 weeks of approved payments by the end of September, with some retroactive payments pending due to various claim issues. All payments will be retroactive to August 1st for the 6 weeks (or $1800) of approved funding (see latest payout date table).
COVID 19 Enhanced Benefits Under CARES Act
Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for
Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020. [Now Expired]
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients.
High unemployment amid COVID-19 has also triggered 13 weeks of extended benefits the state is permitted by federal law to offer to those who have exhausted all other state and federal unemployment aid without returning to work permanently
Useful Resources for Claimants
File A Claim if you are unemployed or partially employed and need to file an Alabama Initial Claim, get started here. It’s easy, fast and secure.
Contacts For Claimants – Contact us if you have questions about your claim
Claims & Benefits FAQ – Questions and answers to help you better understand the claim process and become familiar with the terminology.