State says delayed unemployment payments to begin Friday

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development building in Juneau. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development building in Juneau. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The Alaska Department of Labor says it will begin issuing Lost Wages Assistance benefits beginning Friday, Nov. 6. That’s the program that promises to pay some unemployed Alaskans an extra $300 per week for up to six weeks.

When the state was approved for FEMA funding for the program in September, it said it would take 6-8 weeks to implement, but it’s taken much longer. The state says the holdup was related to how the funds are required to be distributed.

According to the Labor Department, the Lost Wages Assistance Program is separate from the unemployment insurance program. That meant the state needed to build a new, separate system to distribute the additional funds. The state says it took a lot of time to build and test that system.

“As stewards of public funding, it is my duty to ensure that our systems operate with integrity and accuracy,” said Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter in a statement Wednesday.

Alaskans who received at least $100 in unemployment benefits from Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 are eligible.

Alaska Public Media

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