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Kansas Department of Labor Updates FPUC Program

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe

As part of the unemployment extension provisions contained in H.R. 133, the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (Continued Assistance Act), the Kansas Department of Labor received updated guidance from the United States Department of Labor regarding the administration and implementation of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

The program began paying out on Jan. 22.

The Continued Assistance Act reauthorizes the FPUC program with a $300 per week additional benefit for claimants who are eligible for at least $1 of their unemployment compensation benefit amount.

The reauthorized benefit supplement is provided for weeks of unemployment that started with the week of Jan. 2 and will last until the week of March 13.

Claimants who meet the eligibility requirements will receive the $300 benefit without having to take any additional action. Claimants need to continue filing their weekly claims for the unemployment benefit they are currently receiving.

The original FPUC program provided eligible claimants with an additional $600 weekly benefit under the CARES Act, which ended on July 31.

Claimants who qualify will receive the $300 benefit for the week starting Jan. 2.

The new Continued Assistance Act version of FPUC is not retroactive.

FPUC payments are not eligible for any weeks from July 31, 2020 through the weeks ending on or before Dec. 26, 2020.

Since March 15 of last year KDOL, has paid out over 3.9 million weekly claims totaling over $2.6 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs.

Despite this, claimants have had grievances about contacting KDOL about their issues with receiving payments.

Dodge City local Kelli Humiston, cited issues receiving back payments owed to her.

“They keep telling me there’s an IT glitch and there’s no estimate time of it being fixed,” said Humiston. “Which is all fine and dandy but what about the people that have families to feed.”

Humiston said that she has been lied to about the new round of FPUC payments, saying that KDOL denies to her that they have started.

Humiston claims that she has been left on hold until the call would drop.

Another Dodge City local and claimant Racheal Wilmore, also cited issues with constant inconsistencies with communicating with KDOL.

“Every time I’ve even talked to somebody with the state or use their online chatbot, I’m finding something different that I don’t know what do with really,” said Wilmore.

Dodge City claimant Heather Kinder said she has not had an issue receiving her payments but has been locked out of her unemployment benefits account.

“They told me I had to email my driver’s license and social security card to them to get back into my account, and they’d get back at me,” said Kinder. “They told me to email them my driver’s license and social card again, and I tell them, 'I’ve done that already so where is it going?’”

When Kinder called KDOL to explain her situation, she was hung up on—something that Humiston and Wilmore said has happened to them.

Both Humiston and Kinder are part of Facebook groups filled with individuals that have had similar issues with receiving unemployment back payments and contacting KDOL with their grievances.

For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits visit www.getkansasbenefits.gov.