Miss. among the first states to receive federal aid for unemployment

Some Mississippians may qualify for an additional $600 in unemployment benefits.
For many in Mississippi, getting a person on the other end of the phone at MDES has been a...
For many in Mississippi, getting a person on the other end of the phone at MDES has been a struggle. Other got through but their claims were denied.(MS Dept. of Employment)
Updated: Apr. 11, 2020 at 1:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves held a press brief about the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday afternoon.

In the press brief, Gov. Reeves announced that some Mississippians may qualify for an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits.

These funds will be provided by the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. This program is one of the three new federal benefit programs announced by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES).

Gov. Reeves says the funding for these programs comes from the U.S. Department of Labor under the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.

According to MDES, the three new federal benefit programs are the following:

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, which provides $600 per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs. This benefit begins on March 29, 2020.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees.
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for a potential additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances.

These programs were announced as Mississippi sees a massive increase in unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important to note that all of these programs are retroactive," said Timothy Rush, Director of Reemployment Assistance. “Even if it takes numerous weeks to put them in place; the benefits will cover those who were unemployed at least back to March 29th, and one program reaches back to late January.”

MDES said they are working quickly to make this aid available to Mississippians.

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