Delayed Unemployment Benefits: What to Do When Your Payments Are Late

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When the COVID-19 outbreak sparked significant layoffs across the United States in March 2020, approximately 95% of those who applied for unemployment benefits got their first payout within 14 days. This steady process, however, suffered a knock, with the proportion falling to 45% in June 2020.

While there has been some improvement, the most recent available data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration, as of Feb. 28, 2022, shows that 45% of the 350,590 unemployed people whose claims were being processed had not yet received their first unemployment check within 14 days.

For many, the delay in getting vital unemployment benefits might result in substantial financial hardship. These delays are frequently beyond your control and might take weeks or even months to address.

While it is not uncommon for certain jurisdictions to wait three weeks or more to send out the first unemployment payment, what if 21 days turns into 28 days or more?

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What’s the deal with all the delays?

If your first unemployment check hasn’t come or been transferred into your bank account after many weeks, it’s time to investigate the possible causes for this.

Here are some of the most prevalent options:

Outdated state systems: Some states have archaic unemployment systems that rely on antiquated computer languages. These systems may not be able to handle claims effectively, especially for people who do not have access to a computer, as claims are frequently made over the phone.

Overwhelmed state departments: During the pandemic, the sheer amount of jobless claims swamped several state unemployment offices. This surge, along with the inclusion of persons who were not previously eligible for benefits (such as self-employed employees), put further strain on the systems.

Widespread fraud: Taking advantage of states with effective systems, fraudsters made fake benefit claims. Detecting and combating fraud takes resources away from genuine claims processing.

Changes in payment providers: Some states altered payment providers, which might cause delays for beneficiaries who did not pick a new payment method.

Lost or stolen benefits:  Benefit checks or debit cards may be lost or stolen during the distribution process, frequently as a result of misdelivery or unprotected mailboxes.

Mistakes on your claim: Errors in your unemployment application, such as missing information or improperly answered questions, might cause delays since claims may need to be reviewed manually.

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What Should You Do If Your Benefits Are Delayed?

If your unemployment benefits are being delayed, take the following measures to resolve the situation:

Contact the unemployment agency in your state: Inquire with your state’s unemployment office regarding the status of your claim. They can offer information about any problems or delays with your application.

Please be patient: Processing timeframes might vary, and some delays may be unavoidable. Continue to keep an eye on your account or email for any updates.

Check for lost or stolen benefits: If you believe your benefits have been lost or stolen, notify the appropriate authorities. They may be able to help you recover your payments or provide replacements.

Keep up to date: To manage transitions more efficiently, be updated about any changes or adjustments to your state’s unemployment system.

Investigate alternative support: While you wait for your unemployment benefits, look into other financial resources or assistance organizations in your region to help with critical needs.

 

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Source: Marca

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