The Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) today announced that Montana has begun paying an additional $200 weekly benefit to unemployed Montanans impacted by COVID-19.
Last month, Governor Steve Bullock directed DLI to launch the Interim Pandemic Assistance (IPA) program, to provide an extra $200 weekly payment for four weeks to Montanans who are receiving unemployment benefits. The Governor allocated up to $25 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) for these payments. The additional funds are available to eligible claimants beginning the UI week ending November 28, through benefit week ending December 19, 2020.
“Montana is one of only a few states using a portion of its remaining CARES Act funds to supplement unemployment benefits,” Acting Commissioner Brenda Nordlund said.“For folks who are still unemployed or underemployed nine months into the pandemic, an extra $200 even for a few weeks will make a significant impact for them and their families.”
DLI began paying the IPA benefit to claimants on the evening of December 1. Approximately $2.9 million in payments have gone out so far this week. The extra $200 weekly payment will be issued to any eligible Montanan who is unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 disruptions and who is receiving unemployment benefits under the regular UI, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs. The IPA benefit is paid separately from regular UI payments made to claimants.
In accordance with the federal CARES Act, all possible disbursements of CRF must be completed by December 30, 2020. That means that December 28 is the last day claimants can submit their weekly payment request for the IPA-designated benefit weeks. No IPA payments will be issued after December 30, 2020. DLI sent emails to all claimants explaining these effective dates and payment changes on November 20.
Using current claim figures, the economic activity generated from these additional UI benefits is estimated to be at $30.4 million, due to claimants spending funds at local businesses, helping to further Montana’s economic recovery.
Additional information on the new state IPA stimulus program for UI claimants is available here: http://dli.mt.gov/Portals/57/Documents/covid-19/InterimPandemicAssistance.pdf. Montanans impacted by COVID-19 can file a UI claim online at MontanaWorks.gov or mtpua.mt.gov for those who fall under the PUA eligibility guidelines. A resource page for those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions is available at dli.mt.gov/covid-19.