Skip to Content

Delay in signing relief bill leaves some unable to claim benefits

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

WINDSOR (WKOW) -- Jennifer Gorman's Sunday routine since May has included filing a weekly claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a federal relief program for people unable to get traditional unemployment insurance through their state.

But on this Sunday, Gorman was unable to submit her claim. PUA benefits expired on Saturday, December 26, along with Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, a 13-week extension of federal benefits for people whose state unemployment benefits had run out.

While President Trump signed the relief packages approved by Congress, he waited nearly one week to do so. Over the course of those six days, PUA and PEUC expired. Gorman said when she want to apply for what she thought would be the last week of benefits, she instead got caught in a cycle on the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's website.

"It says you need to file an initial claim or re-open your claim. Once you click on that button to file an initial claim, it'll bring you to another page that says reopen your claim," Gorman said. "When you click on that button to reopen your claim, it brings you back to the other page that says you need to file an initial claim so it's just a back-and-forth, back-and-forth."

On a Facebook page that serves as a forum for people sharing their problems or questions about the unemployment system in Wisconsin, several people posted they had a similar experience Sunday.

It was unclear Sunday whether Gorman and others would get backpay for the past week and, if so, whether they would need to re-apply for the federal assistance programs.

The communications office for the DWD did not immediately respond to questions on Sunday.

Gorman qualified for PUA because she left her job in sales for a trucking company in order to stay home with her three-year-old. The program covers caregivers whose children had their school or daycare close. It primarily benefits the self-employed and independent contractors.

As a single mother, Gorman said it would have reduced her income to return to work at a lesser paying job. Since her daughter's daycare had not reopened, Gorman said she also would have been paying more to send her to a new child care provider.

"Unless if you can find a same-paying job and being able to afford to pay daycare, that puts me- I could take a lower-paying job but it really would put me, honestly, in the negative," she said.

Under the relief bill President Trump signed Sunday, PUA benefits are extended for an additional 11 weeks. The House is scheduled to vote early next week on direct payments to Americans in the amount of $2,000; the bill provides $600 payments, which Trump and Democratic lawmakers have said is insufficient.

Author Profile Photo

A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

Skip to content