WETHERSFIELD, CT – Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby today released updates on unemployment applications numbers, the unemployment Trust Fund, and the status of the state’s American Job Centers.
Commissioner Westby said, “The Consumer Contact Center has greatly improved how customers access unemployment assistance—last week, customer representatives handled more than 23,000 cases. I’m urging Congress to extend the CARES Act funding to ensure this work continues, without disruption, through the new year. This is a critical service for residents.”
The Consumer Contact Center was established in mid-July with $4 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which uses federal CARES Act funding. Without Congressional action, the funding will expire December 31, 2020. Contact Center staff handle an average of nearly 21,000 cases per week.
AMERICAN JOB CENTERS
Connecticut’s American Job Centers remain closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19. Some affiliate American Job Centers and all of the comprehensive American Job Centers in Bridgeport, Hamden, Hartford, Montville, New Haven, and Waterbury are providing virtual assistance to job seekers and employers by appointment. Limited in-person appointments at comprehensive American Job Centers may be available if the Center is not located in a red zone area as designated by the state’s COVID-19 tracker. The American Job Centers provide resources for job search and training, resume writing, and other needs; all unemployment questions, information about unemployment eligibility or benefits, and claims filing continue to be handled by the Consumer Contact Center.
UNEMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS UPDATE
Since March 13, 2020, CTDOL has received more than 1,082,000 state, federal, and extended benefits applications
Currently, ~188,000 weekly filers
Application processing time, which hit a high of six weeks during the pandemic, is now at 1-3 days
Trust Fund balance: $4.2M
To date, the state has borrowed $402M for the Trust Fund and has submitted the following borrowing requests: November – $150M, and December – $250M.
Since March 13, 2020, CTDOL has disbursed $325.5M in Lost Wages Assistance (effective July 26, 2020) as well as $5.5B in state, federal, and extended unemployment benefits. The breakdown is as follows:
· $2.5B in total unemployment benefits as follows:
o $1.9B in state unemployment benefits;
o $335M in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – for anyone who is not able to collect regular unemployment benefits, ex: self-employed or people without enough earnings to qualify;
o $236M Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – for individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits;
o $2.8M in state extended benefits; and
o $49M in federal extended benefits.
· $3B in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)—expired July 25, 2020.