Kansas Department of Labor working to get additional benefits to the unemployed

TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Some Kansans on unemployment could receive more than a thousand a week once the benefits from the stimulus package are added to their weekly income from the state.

Governor DeSantis said his top priority is ensuring the state's unemployment website can keep up with the high volume of claims being filed by Floridians out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (MGN)

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The Kansas Department of Labor said Monday the federal government provided guidance over the weekend. KDOL Secretary Delia Garcia said her teams are now working to implement the guidance. A major piece -- the additional $600 in benefits.

Eligible Kansans receive 4.25% of their wages with a minimum of $112 per week to a maximum of $488 per week in unemployment benefits. With the additional $600, those numbers increase to $712 to $1,088 weekly.

But the fact remains, it hasn't been easy filing a claim for unemployed Kansans to receive their money.

"We hope we can get that to you as quickly as possible. We will have to work with our IT team to get those payments out so that will move forward as quickly as possible," said Secretary Garcia.

She spoke about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Project. The new program will provide a benefit to unemployed Kansans who traditionally don’t fall under the definition of unemployment or are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance benefits like gig workers, contractors and others who are self-employed.

"It’s going to take some time for us to get that program in place, but we have already started work on this, and we will keep you updated as more information becomes available,"

Garcia said her office continues to be overwhelmed by phone calls and website hits for unemployment claims. But she says KDOL is working with its IT department - internally and externally - and it is adding staff from additional state agencies to help handle the volume.

"Yesterday, we saw enormous web traffic and calls to our IBR, more than we have ever experienced before. That did cause some delays to the website and the phones, for which I do apologize," said the KDOL secretary. "We did add capacity coming into this weekend because we knew it would be a busy weekend. However, while the website did not technically crash, it was running much slower and providing many errors to people to.. we will continue to work to improve our capacity on our website so we do not experience those issues again."