Delay in reopening further frustrates self-employed Kansans still waiting on benefits

Published: May. 1, 2020 at 4:16 PM CDT
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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's phased-in plan to reopen the state comes with added frustration for some business owners delayed at least an additional two weeks (at least until May 18) before they can get back to work.

A situation made worse for business owners including many hairstylists and barbers is that the delay in reopening coincides with the challenge of not being able to collect unemployment benefits until late May.

The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) confirms the remaining programs in the federal CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) should begin paying out benefits by the end of May.

According to the timeline, Kansans can be filing for PUA by May 12 and payments should be processing by May 25. PEUC should be live by the end of May.

These payments are retroactive, but people like hairstylists, still at least two weeks out from getting back to work, say they need financial help now.

"After (Thursday) night, hearing what the governor said, and all of us are just so upset," hairstylist Kristin Kindle. "We just want to cry, we're mad, we're angry. We just want to get back to work to make a living. I mean, we can't pay our bills, and you know, it would be helpful if we could get unemployment right now, but we're not getting it."

At this point, we know 25 states are already paying unemployment benefits to self-employed workers. But the KDOL is still struggling with technical issues.

For self-employed Kansans waiting to get back to work, the state suggests you file claims each week so you can receive retroactive pay once the program starts.