Gov. John Bel Edwards explains unemployment benefit extensions, rent payments amid COVID crisis
BATON ROUGE- During Gov. John Bel Edwards' coronavirus news briefing Monday afternoon, he answered questions regarding unemployment benefit extensions and rent payments amid COVID-19 closures.
Gov. Edwards answered a question from a Slidell resident that asked, "When will the Louisiana workforce start processing the 13 unemployment benefit extensions?"
"The LA workforce commission is programming its work to begin paying these 13 weeks of unemployment benefit extensions by the end of this week. These are federal dollars that were passed by congress. It's the pandemic emergency employment assistance that allows those who have exhausted benefits under regular unemployment compensation, which is capped at 26 weeks in Louisiana, to receive 13 weeks of additional benefits of $600 in addition to regular unemployment insurance, which, the Louisiana max as you all know by now, is $247," Gov. Edwards said.
The computer program and testing to distribute these funds have been expensive and challenging, Gov. Edwards said, "but we will be able to start issuing these payments by the end of the week."
Louisiana's payment average is 87% as of now, which exceeds the vast majority of states.
"Louisiana workforce commission has certainly had their work cut out for them. They have been responding in good fashion and making considerable progress each week," Gov. Edwards said.
He then answered a question about renters and what they should do if they cannot pay rent at this time, and have been laid off due to COVID.
"Obviously if you can't make rent payments because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage you to contact your landlord or property management company just as soon as possible. As soon as you realize you may not be able to pay all or any portion of your rent as it becomes due," Gov. Edwards responded.
The governor explained that rent relief is available in several forms, depending on personal circumstances and the landlord.
He encourages renters to put any negotiations with landlords in writing.
"Eviction courts were suspended in Louisiana until at least May the 15 of 2020. Your landlord has to get a court order to evict you and that won't happen as long as these courts are closed. Federal law prevents evictions and charging of late fees until after July 25 of 2020 for certain rentals covered by the CARES Act," Gov. Edwards said.
Gov. Edwards says rent obligations continue and for those who are able to make payments, they should do so.
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