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Workforce Commission gets $243m to laid-off workers in only two days, but continues to struggle under increased workload

1 year 3 months 1 week ago Wednesday, April 22 2020 Apr 22, 2020 April 22, 2020 5:25 AM April 22, 2020 in News
Source: The Advocate

After successfully overcoming a series of computer glitches caused by extensive amounts of unemployment claims hindering its system, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has gotten back on track in sending money to residents who've been laid off.

According to The Advocate, the Workforce Commission sent out a total of $243 million to laid-off workers Monday and Tuesday of this week.

That was a whopping 54% more than the $158 million it was able to dole out on Monday and Tuesday of last week.  

The Workforce Commission said the surge in the number of checks it was able to send out is due to the fact that they're now able to begin catching up on the $600 payments that were owed to certain residents earlier this month.

“They’re making progress on the retroactive pay,” said Wendy Manard, a New Orleans attorney who is seeing more positive comments this week on Louisiana Coronavirus Unemployment Legal Advice Group,which is a Facebook page she created for jobless workers. 

Over 2,000 users visit her page to share information and tips.

Manard said laid-off workers need to receive what they are owed.

“A lot of these people are living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “They are struggling to make it right now.”

The Advocate reports that the Workforce Commission released an email, explaining that it's taking steps to assist the public during this new financial crisis caused by the virus pandemic.

Some of these new measures include adding workers to answer phone calls, adding information pertaining to frequently asked questions on its website (laworks.net), and installing an additional server to deal with the elevated traffic that its online system is dealing with. The Workforce Commission has also added servers and additional operating capacity.

However, the commission admits that it has yet to retool its website to provide up to 13 more weeks of payments to workers laid off last year who have exhausted the 26 weeks of benefits allowed under state law. The extended benefits were a provision in the federal stimulus and relief package passed by Congress in late March.

At this point, a good bit of laid-off workers are still dissatisfied with the state unemployment agency, some saying they've received a payment that clearly belonged to someone else, others saying they still haven't gotten paid at all.

The Workforce Commission, which has been managing roughly 30 times the volume of jobless claims it typically oversees, is still struggling to keep up with the public's increasing financial needs during the pandemic.

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