KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas residents receiving benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will lose those benefits after Dec. 26.
The Kansas Department of Labor announced Wednesday that both programs, which were created through the federal CARES Act, have to end based on federal law.
Under terms of the CARES Act, all federal funding states received must be allocated and spent by the end of the year or returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
“I am hopeful that Congress will act quickly to pass legislation that extends these important federal programs that so many have come to count on,” Acting Kansas Secretary of Labor Ryan Wright said in a statement. “States only administer these programs and we cannot extend them.”
While Kansas announced the stop date, the state's labor department is only the messenger.
The programs haven’t been extended or replaced because Congress has failed to pass a second stimulus bill or to extend the programs created in late March in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unless Congress acts, these benefits end on December 26,” Wright said. “Terminating these programs during the middle of a pandemic, the day after Christmas, when thousands of people remain unemployed is unconscionable. These programs have helped people buy groceries, pay rent or make utility payments while they look for employment opportunities or help care for their families during the global crisis.”
This will not affect claimants who have yet to receive payments owed or whose case remains under review, a problem that has plagued Kansas throughout the pandemic. Outstanding eligible weekly benefit payments will be paid, even if a final determination regarding eligibility isn’t made until after the deadline.
But eligibility for those programs ends Dec. 26.
The U.S. Department of Labor notified Kansas last month that another unemployment program, which offered Extended Benefits, would be “triggered off” effective Dec. 12 — or the end of this week.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits to workers not traditionally eligible — including self-employed, gig workers, contract workers and religious workers.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provided an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits beyond the expiration of state unemployment benefits.
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