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New law raises maximum weekly benefit amount next year, ends pandemic-related unemployment programs

Louisiana Workforce Commission
Louisiana Workforce Commission(Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 3:43 PM CDT
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The following information comes from Louisiana Workforce Commission:

A new Louisiana law could give more money to people who file for unemployment benefits. Act No. 276 raises the maximum weekly benefit amount by $28 beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the first increase in over a decade.

It also ends Louisiana’s participation in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) as of July 31, 2021. This means the following federally funded programs will end in Louisiana effective July 31, 2021:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides unemployment benefits for individuals who do not qualify for state-funded benefits.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extends “regular” unemployment claims that have exhausted state-funded benefits.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides $300 in weekly supplemental federal unemployment benefits to eligible claimants in PUA and PEUC, as well as state-funded “regular” unemployment and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which allows individuals with a state-funded or PEUC claim and at least $5,000 in self-employment income in 2020 to receive an additional $100 in weekly benefits. MEUC is still in implementation development in Louisiana.

“Our core mission has always been putting Louisianians to work, but that is more important now than ever,” said LWC Secretary Ava Cates. “What matters right now is helping people provide for themselves and their families and making sure Louisiana comes back stronger than ever.”

July 31 will be the last date eligible unemployment claims will qualify for the $300 weekly FPUC benefit supplement in Louisiana and the last payable week for PUA and PEUC claims. It’s also the last date for the $100 weekly MEUC benefit. Benefits were mandated by Congress to end Sept. 4, 2021, ending all ARPArelated unemployment programs.

People who find themselves unemployed by July 31 can still file a claim on our HiRE website through Sept. 4, 2021, including people who may qualify for PUA, PEUC, or MEUC. However, no unemployment benefits will be paid on PUA, PEUC or MEUC claims for any weeks claimed after July 31.

Act 276 also offsets the ending of the short-term supplemental federal benefit with a long-term increase in the standard amount of weekly unemployment benefits Louisiana offers. The current maximum weekly benefit amount of $247 will be increased to $275.

“It is important we make sure we are doing everything we can to help people who need jobs, get jobs,” said Cates. “We know these federal programs will be gone, but this increase in weekly state unemployment benefits moving forward will help people far into the future.”

The LWC offers a variety of job assistance resources through HiRE and its statewide network of 62 American Job Centers, as well as opportunities discovered at LWC-sponsored job fairs, training programs, apprenticeship opportunities, and numerous other LWC services. To learn more, go to www.laworks.net.

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