coronavirus pandemic

State Officials Give Update on Local Impact of CARES Act Extension

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Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby have given an update on the Emergency Coronavirus Recovery Act of 2020, or CARES Act extension said it allocates an additional $300 per week benefit for all claimants for up to 11 weeks, extends the interest waiver for Trust Fund borrowing and continues 100 percent federal funding for the Shared Work program.

The law impacts the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

“This legislation is vital to providing stability for both individuals and businesses in the state,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

“This is much-needed relief for Connecticut’s unemployed residents,” Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said in a statement. “The PUA and PEUC programs alone cover 64,000 people, more than half of whom would lose benefits entirely without federal action. With the Trust Fund and Shared Work provisions, there is an eye on economic recovery as well – keeping workers attached to jobs will be critical for businesses ramping back up. I applaud Connecticut’s Congressional delegation and everyone who worked tirelessly to keep these programs running. They are a lifeline for residents and businesses in our state.”

What this means for all claimants is a new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) allocation of $300 per week for up to 11 weeks and claimants can expect benefits by mid-January.

Around 35,000 PUA participants will receive an 11-week program extension for a total of 50 weeks.

A statement from the governor and state Department of Labor says program eligibility ends March 13, 2021 and last week of benefits is paid by the week ending April 10, 2021 for those who have remaining weeks as of March 13, 2021.

They said state labor agencies are waiting for official U.S. Department of Labor guidance on details, but the federal department has signaled these are expected to be continuous benefits for eligible claimants beginning on the day the CARES Act expired.

What this means for around 29,000 PEUC customers is an 11-week extension to a total of 24 weeks with the last week paid by week ending April 10, 2021, for those who have remaining weeks as of March 13, 2021.

They said program eligibility ends March 13, 2021. Claimants who are currently receiving Extended Benefits will stay on that program until it is exhausted before potentially becoming eligible for the additional weeks of PEUC.

They said Trust Fund interest waiver extension is until March 14, 2021 and this reduces the financial liability for Connecticut companies that pay a special assessment to repay interest on Trust Fund borrowing.

State officials said the state has borrowed $485 million for the Trust Fund.

The agency has requested $400 million for the first quarter of 2021. The request might not reflect actual spending – weekly spending is currently above $20 million and expected to experience a seasonal increase, state officials said.

The 50 percent reimbursement provision for local and state government and nonprofit organizations is extended as is the 100 percent federal funding for Shared Work.

The governor and Department of Labor commissioner said state labor agencies must wait for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before implementing many new unemployment provisions and updates on implementation timing and program details will be released and posted to as they become available.

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