(WAFB) - The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) held a news conference March 17 to discuss how residents affected by the unprecedented shutdown of many businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic can file for unemployment benefits.
LWC says for a person who has filed to continue to receive weekly benefits, they must file their certification every week by Sunday for every week they are unemployed.
Officials with LWC go on to say although Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order saying the job search requirement is waived, people still have to let LWC know each week that they are still unemployed.
An individual will not receive benefits if their weekly certification is not filed.
Anyone who does not do this will not receive their weekly benefits. Weekly certifications can be filed online here, or by calling 1-866-783-5567.
Officials with LWC ask if possible, you file your claim online to reduce the volume of calls into their office. CLICK HERE to file an unemployment claim.
Officials ask you to be patient with the website due to the large amount of people going online to file a claim.
LWC officials say their call volume has tripled since March 16. Those who do not have access to the internet can file a claim by calling 866-783-5567.
Extra staff members have been added to process claims by phone.
Whether you file online or by phone:
- Be sure to answer “yes” to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 (coronavirus)?” This will provide needed information to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) to help process your claim.
- If your work hours have been reduced, partial benefits could be available to you up to a maximum of $247 a week. You must report any earnings for the week that you work, even if you’ve not yet been paid. Include all income, commissions, tips and gratuities. Report the gross amount before deductions. These earnings would be factored into the amount of unemployment benefits paid to you for that week.
- The maximum number of weeks that unemployment benefits can be paid per claim is 26 weeks in a 12-month period.
- You may have sick leave and/or annual leave available to you through your employer. You should check with your employer and exhaust any paid leave options first before filing for unemployment benefits.
- The recently passed “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES ACT)” expands the scope of individuals who are eligible for unemployment benefits, including those who are furloughed or out of work as a direct result of COVID-19, self-employed or gig workers are eligible. and those who have exhausted existing state and federal unemployment benefit provisions.
- The law provides an increase of $600 per week, in addition to state benefits, are for those that otherwise did not qualify. Anyone that is eligible, once funding becomes available, will be retroactively eligible to the date of job loss. However, individuals will have to apply via state unemployment insurance systems.
LWC officials say they have waived their normal week-long waiting period so claims can be processed immediately.
Officials say Louisiana has $1 billion in its unemployment trust fund.
Employers should contact LWC at EmployerServices@lwc.la.gov with unemployment insurance questions. Be sure to provide your company’s name, a point of contact, telephone number and email address, as well as specifics on the assistance you are requesting. The Employer Call Center, 225-326-6999, is also available.
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