Federal unemployment benefits, including $300 a week, end Saturday. Here's what to know in Kansas.
All federal pandemic unemployment programs expire Saturday, despite the surge in COVID-19 in Kansas.
Starting Sunday, regular unemployment insurance will be the only unemployment program available in Kansas, returning to the pre-pandemic system.
Kansas Department of Labor officials encourage unemployed people to continue filing claims.
"If claimants are entitled to benefits from Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and their claim is found to be eligible, they will be paid those funds even after the federal programs have expired," officials said in a news release.
"Once the federal benefit programs have ended the only unemployment insurance (UI) program will be regular state funded UI. To qualify for regular UI benefits, claimants must have earned sufficient wages to be monetarily entitled to benefits."
Why is Kansas ending added federal benefits now?
Some states had elected to discontinue the federal benefits earlier in the summer. Gov. Laura Kelly previously decided to continue federal benefits until they expired in Kansas, despite business groups arguing it was causing labor shortages.
In Kansas, the unemployment rate has returned to about where it was before the pandemic hit. However, the labor force shrunk and has yet to fully recover, economic indicators show.
The Labor Department has resources available to help Kansans who lose federal benefits.
Workforce resources include assistance with food, housing and utilities, child care, career and job searches, immigrant services and veteran services. Additional information on the programs is available online at www.dol.ks.gov/en/workforce-resources.
What federal programs are affected?
Three federal programs are affected, which had been authorized and continued under the various COVID-19 aid acts.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, provided an additional $300 weekly payment for any claimant that was eligible for at least $1 of an underlying unemployment compensation.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, provided benefits for claimants who were unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19 and not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, provided an extension of benefits after claimants exhausted regular unemployment compensation.
Will individuals be notified about the change?
Informing beneficiaries that compensation is ending may be difficult.
In July, about 7,000 individuals had their unemployment benefits halted when they didn't participate in a newly mandated program called My Reemployment. The change requires job-seekers to complete an online program aimed at helping them find a new job.
Officials have said that not all of the individuals were aware of the new mandate or hadn't adjusted to the cultural change, prompting a flood of phone calls to state staffers seeking to rectify the situation when benefits ended.