State tells unemployed to ready for end of pandemic payments

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Labor is reminding claimants the federal expansion of unemployment insurance benefits created under the CARES Act will end Sept. 5. This includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The Department will be increasing outreach and assistance to help claimants transition into the workforce or find training or educational opportunities.

“The federal CARES Act programs played an important role in providing temporary assistance to make sure Vermont workers were supported during a time of great uncertainty throughout the last 17 months,” said Commissioner Michael Harrington. “Since March 2020, the Department has issued over $2.3 million unique benefit payments to more than 100,000 Vermonters totaling over $1.7 billion.”

The week that ends Sept. 4 will mark the final week for CARES Act programs. This means claimants will collect their final CARES Act benefits the week of Sept. 5-10, when they file their weekly claim — for those in PUA and PEUC, this will be their last weekly claim.

The conclusion of the federal program will affect the roughly 12,000 claimants filing in PUA and PEUC who will no longer be eligible to file for benefits. This will also affect the 5,500 claimants currently in regular unemployment insurance (those in their initial 26 weeks of filing) but to a different degree. Those individuals will continue to collect benefits as they are eligible under regular unemployment, but they will no longer see the FPUC supplement, which provided an additional $300 per week.

“As these federal programs end, we know we have more work to do. The department, and especially our Workforce Development team, are already connecting with claimants and employers to help people get back into the workforce and minimize the impact of this change in benefits”, Harrington said.

The department has continued to connect with unemployment insurance claimants through direct email and phone outreach to provide information on how the end of federal benefits will impact them, as well as what workforce development support services are available to assist them with re-employment.

Workforce Development team members are located at Job Centers now open for expanded hours across the state and are available for both virtual and in-person career consultations. Local career specialists can assist jobseekers in finding career and training opportunities, as well as employers looking for talent through job promotion, hiring events, and applicant referrals. Local and statewide teams continue to hold weekly virtual workshops and events, including sessions on resume writing, re-employment strategies, and virtual job fairs. Learn more at Labor.Vermont.gov/Jobs.

For more information on the Department of Labor, including additional details on the impact of the end of CARES Act programs and resources available to those impacted, please visit Labor.Vermont.gov.

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Addison County Independent