Millions wait for jobless pay as state agencies overwhelmed by claims

Millions wait for jobless pay as state agencies overwhelmed by claims
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Laid-off workers are slated to receive hundreds of extra dollars in unemployment benefits as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package. But the sudden surge in jobless claims is overwhelming state unemployment systems, which could result in a delay of getting checks to unemployed workers.

That’s because more than 3 million people filed for benefits in one week earlier this month, an influx that represents an almost fivefold increase over the previous weekly record back in 1982. The stimulus package signed into law Friday includes money for hiring additional unemployment office staff, which could alleviate backlogs now facing some states.

Typically, unemployment benefits arrive within two to three weeks. But workers who have lost their jobs this month said it’s been a struggle to reach their unemployment offices because of the competing crush of other out-of-work employees. Funding for extra state government staffing could help speed along their claims — and their unemployment checks, which will include up to an additional $600 per week on top of what they get from their local state benefits.

“Financially, I’ve never been more stressed out in my entire life,” Kyle Quigley, a 25-year-old out-of-work restaurant server in Portland, Oregon, told CBS MoneyWatch on Friday. He  filed for unemployment on March 16 and said he is still waiting for his first check: “Rent’s due in like five days.”

Source: CBS

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