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Unemployed Alabamians could get help from COVID-19 relief bill

Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 7:30 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some jobless Alabamians could receive hundreds of more dollars each week in unemployment benefits from the federal government.

Congressional leaders said they have reached a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief aid package which includes that money for those on unemployment.

The agreement would include an extra $300 in enhanced unemployment insurance several more weeks. Congress has not passed the legislation yet.

Alabama Department of Labor spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said about 85,000 Alabamians are receiving unemployment benefits. The majority of those are out of work because of the pandemic, according to Hutchison.

“Even though it’s much better now than it was at the height of the pandemic,” she said. “It’s still a very high number for Alabama.”

Hutchison said Alabamians on unemployment receive anything from $45 to $275 each week in benefits from the state.

Hutchison said it’s unclear who exactly would be eligible to receive that additional $300. If the legislation passes, ADOL would need to wait for guidance from the federal government.

“We won’t be able to make those payments until the U.S. Department of Labor tells us how to do it, what the rules are, what the qualifications are,” she said.

That could take time.

“So we’ll have to wait on that that could cause a delay, depending on how long it takes them to let us know exactly how we’re to administer these programs,” she said.

Hutchison encourages those who think they are eligible for unemployment benefits to keep filing weekly claims.

“If you believe that you are entitled to additional unemployment benefits, you need to go ahead and keep following that weekly claim,” she said.

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