With CARES Act ending, Kan. Dept. of Labor working to extend unemployment benefits

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 9:34 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The CARES Act program that offers the $600 boost in unemployment benefits is set to expire Saturday (July 25). The Kansas Department of Labor is also working to start a new program to extend unemployment benefits, a program we confirmed with the state is delayed at least a few days.

“We’re in the final stages of testing for the extended benefits program and so we’re hoping to roll that extended benefits program out by the end of this week,” Ryan Wright, the Acting Secretary of Labor in Kansas said.

The extended benefits program was set to start early this week. The state hopes to launch the program by the end of the week.

“We know that there’s been some frustration, but part of this testing is to make sure that we get it right so that once it is live folks can apply and get those benefits,” Wright said.

The state recently added more staff members to the I.T. team to sort out some technical difficulties, but the state is still working with a system that is nearly 40 old.

“Our unemployment system was created in the 70s so this is a system that’s over 40 years old that we’re dealing with the federal government, in an effort to respond to the COVID crisis, passed a handful of new programs, but didn’t pass any technical assistance for states to put those different programs into place,” Wright said

The state says claimants will not have to reapply. The program qualifies you for up to 20 additional weeks of state benefits.

These benefits do not include the additional $600 boost from the CARES Act. FPUC is set to expire this Saturday.

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