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Changes coming to pandemic-related unemployment benefits

Unemployment.jpg
iStock image.

People receiving unemployment benefits will soon see a deduction in their checks.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provided an extra $600 per week to many Americans, will end Saturday, July 25. This compensation was passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. Regular state unemployment benefits will continue, without the $600 per week extra.

Also expiring is North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's Executive Order 2020-08, which temporarily waived provisions of the state's unemployment insurance law that required benefit recipients to search for work.

The revised order, 2020-08.2, rescinds that provision. The order, which Burgum signed July 8, reads, "On and after July 26, 2020, all individuals seeking unemployment, including individuals whose unemployment is related to COVID-19, must register for work ... All individuals ... must conduct an active work search."

Beginning that week, all claimants who are coded as not returning to their employer after a temporary layoff will be required to search for work and register for employment with Job Service North Dakota . They will be required to complete three work search activities each week, which include applying for a job in person, by mail, by internet or by kiosk and leaving a resume or contact information with an employer.

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Job Service verifies these contacts to ensure they are being made.

It's unemployment insurance claimant guide reads, "Please note falsifying job contact information may result in the denial of benefits for the week the contact was reported in. If you received payment for the week you will be required to repay the amount to Job Service in addition to any applicable interest and penalties."

For additional information about what constitutes applicable contacts, see the guide here .

If, however, the person receiving benefits is a union member who received jobs via hiring hall or is an employee who is returning to work after being temporarily laid off, they will not be required to search for work or register. If and when work becomes available again with their employer, they must return to work. Failure to do so will result in a stop on the claim and possible loss of unemployment benefits.

Workers who are self-employed and thus not normally eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will be required to complete a waiver to get around the requirement of searching for work. They will not be required to search for work or register for employment unless they have no intent to resume their business operations.

Other provisions of the CARES Act do not expire until December 26, 2020, including the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The former provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits, and the latter provides up to 46 weeks of benefits to people who are self-employed as well as others who would not normally qualify to receive unemployment insurance.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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