Extended unemployment benefits ending next month in Kansas
photo by: Screenshot/Kansas Department of Labor
WICHITA (AP) — A federal program that had extended unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks in Kansas will stop next month just as new COVID-19 restrictions could lead to more furloughs and layoffs.
The U.S. Department of Labor informed the state labor agency that the Kansas unemployment levels had fallen below the eligibility threshold for the Extended Benefits program, the Wichita Eagle reported.
The last payments for Kansans on the program will be the week ending Dec. 12. The Kansas Department of Labor will notify affected individuals.
Kansas previously qualified for the Extended Benefits program in June, which offered federal reimbursement to the state for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. The program aims to assist workers who exhaust the regular unemployment benefits during periods of high unemployment.
The Kansas unemployment rate has steadily fallen each month after its high of 11.9% in April as the pandemic took hold across the state. The state’s unemployment rate in October was 5.3%, down from 5.9% in September and 6.9% in August.
Since March 15, the state labor department has paid out more than 3.1 million weekly claims totaling over $2.3 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs.