The agency that handles unemployment insurance for Louisiana is reprogramming its application website to bring it in line with the new rules under the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill called the American Rescue Plan.
Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Dejoie said the system, which was down Tuesday, will soon be fully functional.
The new law was signed March 11 and will extend the extra $300 benefits paid by the federal government until Sept. 6.
“We expect the system to be fully functional no later than noon on Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” the agency said.
“The 72 hours needed for programming and testing will improve system functionality and claims processing.”
The Baton Rouge area lost 4,800 jobs from December to January, giving the region 20,700 fewer jobs than it had a year ago.
“As normal, all claimants have until Saturday at 11:59 P.M. to complete weekly certifications. We remind claimants concerned about filing based on Social Security numbers that all numbers are accepted Wednesday through Saturday.”
The weekly federal payments will be on top of the maximum $247 per week paid by the state of Louisiana, which is one of the smallest amounts nationally.
Some of the federal money coming to the state is also expected to help replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund, which plummeted amid heavy demand in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
That issue remains a key concern of Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders.
State officials have said about 230,000 people are collecting some form of unemployment benefits, down from about 400,000 earlier.
Congress approved the extension just days before the $300 per week supplement was set to expire.
Dejoie said last week her agency is walking a tightrope between paying claims owed people without paying fraudulent claims.
State officials have said for months that Louisiana’s unemployment system was overwhelmed with claims that stemmed from the sudden layoffs caused by the pandemic.