The thousands of people without jobs in Alabama can rest easier now that unemployment benefits will be extended for 11 weeks.
Sunday night, President Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package to extend unemployment benefits.
You don't need to re-apply for this COVID-19 relief package if you are already receiving unemployment benefits from the previous one that expired Saturday. A spokesperson from the Alabama Department of Labor, Kelly Betts, said it's going to take some time before you start seeing payments from this new package.
“There will be some delays based on the first round of payments, because we can’t push that money out until A, we get that money, and B, we’re instructed on how to push that money out, and that’s what we’re waiting on for from USDOL," said Betts.
Betts said they don't expect to receive guidance from the United States Department of Labor until Jan. 1 at the earliest.
Betts said it's important to continue filing weekly certifications so you don't miss any payments.
"We want to encourage all of our claimants to continue those weekly certifications so when this money does become available, there will be no missing weeks," she said.
A requirement the Department of Labor brought back is you must show you're actively looking for a job to receive unemployment benefits with this package.
“It encourages people to get out there and look for work. We know there are jobs out there, not everyone can return to work right now, we understand that, but we do have 51 plus career centers around the state that can help people find new career paths," said Betts.
Another change the Alabama Department of Labor is making is starting on Monday, it is only having appointments by phone for unemployment claims support.
Betts told WAAY 31 having the appointments over the phone will increase the number of people they see each day from 400 to 600.