More Than 9,000 Utahns File For New Unemployment Benefits, Down From Week Before

May 7, 2020, 8:46 AM | Updated: 8:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – New jobless claims among Utahns are down from the week prior.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, 9,057 people filed for unemployment benefits for the week of April 26 – May 2. That’s down 23% from the week before, when nearly 12,000 Utahns filed new claims.

For the week ending May 2, Utah received ongoing, weekly unemployment claims from 107,711 people and paid out $72.9 million in benefits. Nearly $47 million of that came from the federal government to pay out the $600 weekly stimulus.

Nationally, nearly 3.2 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total to 33 million claims since the pandemic began.

“We are grateful for everyone that has continued to be patient as the incredible staff process this record volume of claims and meet this demand,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “With the state moving to the orange moderate risk factor, we remind claimants returning to work to accurately report wages earned during your weekly claim.”

Another new development, Utah is now waiving the one-week waiting period to get unemployment payments. This is thanks to a change from the legislature in combination with the federal CARES Act.

Senate Bill 3003, passed during a special session in April, instructs the Department of Workforce Service: “For any week beginning on or after January 1, 2020, the department may waive the one-week waiting period … and pay a benefit to an unemployed individual for that week.”

The waiting week will be waived for applications received after April 26. Some are surprised that the waiver is not retroactive to when the pandemic began when there was a surge of unemployment claims.

“Having someone go on a furlough it’s great that they are able to receive that unemployment benefit,” said West Haven resident Joe Christensen. “But that waiting week — if they are only off for three of four weeks — if they’re off four weeks and they lose 25% of that, that’s a big reduction in their pay.”

The Department of Workforce Services said Utah couldn’t request the federal money until after the governor signed the bill on April 22.

“We found that the department of labor said that you cannot go retroactive with those federal dollars and it could only be from the date that you signed the agreement forward,” Burt said.

Burt said the state will use funds from the federal government to pay the unemployment benefits for a claimant’s first week, but only for applications after April 26.

If an individual’s employment has been impacted by COVID-19 they should visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for updated information. New information has been added to help employees and employers navigate the process of returning to work.

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More Than 9,000 Utahns File For New Unemployment Benefits, Down From Week Before