Delaware secretary of Labor details how to keep unemployment payments coming

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Delaware Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade
Delaware Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade

Delaware Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade this week detailed how new unemployment benefits will work and encouraged anyone whose has used their full amount of unemployment to apply for additional benefits.

Cade, speaking during Gov. John Carney’s weekly COVID-19 press conference Tuesday, said the state has spent $760 million in unemployment for 100,000 people this year. Of that, he said 82,000 are directly related to the pandemic.

 

New payments

The state will begin this week mailing the new additional federal benefit of $300 to those who are unemployed. The payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1, when the CARES Act money ran out. 

The first round of federal unemployment money added $600 to people’s checks. When it ran out, President Donald Trump ordered a Low Wages Assistance Program that temporarily will pay the $300 to people who lost jobs because of COVID-19, but states had to apply for it. Delaware did and received the money.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said the payments will only last for six weeks, from Aug. 1 through Sept 5, according to a slide Cade showed during his talk.

No one has to apply for the new federal dollars, Cade said. It will be automatically taken care of by the state, but only people who are getting $100 or more in unemployment will be eligible. 

The first payments will be in separate checks, Cade said, but the department plans to find away to make them into one. 

 

Extended benefits

Many people are reaching the end of their 26-week unemployment benefits, Cade said.

Those who do may apply for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. That is a separate program from regular unemployment benefits.

Cade warned listeners that they must apply at pua.delawareworks.com exactly. Using www. before that will not work, he said, because it’s a secure site.

When the CARES Act was first established, anyone who ran over the maximum was automatically enrolled for extended benefits by the system, he said. That is not the case now. People must enroll themselves.

Claimants must create a profile and then a PEUC application, followed by weekly certifications at the same site.

Those getting unemployment should get a letter telling them when their regular benefits are expiring so they can apply for the extended ones.

 

Rapid workforce retraining

Delaware will spend $10 million of CARES Act money to help companies retrain their workforce and develop skills that fit into what employers are seeking. It is not for individuals seeking training, Cade pointed out.

The application period  for employers and industry trainers to participate ends Sept. 25. Information can be found at de.gov/relief.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, Cade said, but because the CARES money is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, it must be spent quickly.

Cade said the state expects a majority of the retraining to be done by the end of the year, with the rest completed by the end of March 2021.

“So, a very lofty goal,” he said, “but with the partners that we’ve been able to establish through the Workforce Development Board, we’re extremely confident that we’re going to be able to do a heckuva lot of good for a heckuva lot of people who are looking to get back into the workforce next year.”

 

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