HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Unemployment benefits will look a bit different soon as a key unemployment relief program is set to expire.
According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, almost 400,000 Mississippians have filed for unemployment benefits since March. Four months later in July, nearly half of that number continues to request benefits.
MDES offers seven different unemployment programs. Three of those- regular, pandemic and disaster unemployment, greatly affect Pine Belt residents.
According to MDES, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Fund Program provides an extra $600 to applicants, but that extra cash will soon be gone.
“If a person is receiving any of those seven programs, right now they get an additional $600 dollars,” said MDES Executive Director Jackie Turner. “As it stands right now that program will end the week ending July 25.”
Under the CARES Act, the program is set to expire at the end of the month.
Other unemployment benefit provisions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic are also set to expire soon under Gov. Tate Reeves’ Executive Order 1502, such as the suspension of work search requirements.
MDES will also now turn their focus to those filing fraudulent unemployment claims. Officials say it can come in a few different forms.
“Fraudulent claims may be identity theft, they may be someone that does not qualify for unemployment programs because they are not unemployed. Having employers tell us these things about potential fraud of ID theft claims helps us recover fraudulent payments and quit allowing individuals or ID theft rings to be drawing unemployment because it is not allowable to do so,” said Turner.
For more information on fraudulent claims, visit here.