MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Labor has disbursed more than $1.5 billion in unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 relief.
ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Thursday $1,597,770,137 has been paid to 292,493 claimants in COVID-19 related benefits, from March 16 to June 3. Among those funds, $1,147,359,000 represent Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $34,302,995 represent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and $8,834,035 represent Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
ADOL has issued payments to 92% of those filing COVID-19 related active claims since March 16. Washington said the department is paying out the equivalent of a “normal” year’s worth of benefits every two weeks and has paid out more in almost three months than it has for the past seven years combined.
“While we continue to make progress on paying these claims, we understand that there are still many Alabamians out there who still need our assistance. We remain dedicated to providing them with that assistance,” Washington said. “We have opened a new call center that is dedicated to answering inquiry calls, and it’s up and running with more than 60 new staffers, with the expectation that that number will double by the end of next week. We’ve also launched a new ‘live chat’ service available from the UI Claims Tracker to further assist Alabamians with questions.”
ADOL has debuted new dashboards showing the dollar amounts paid per program, both COVID-19 related and year-to-date. The dashboards also show demographic information about unemployment compensation claimants. In April, nearly 60 percent of claimants were female, and 26.8 percent of claimants were between the ages of 25 and 34.