Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Moab, UT

57.8 F
Moab
More

    Seasonal workers are running out on unemployment insurance

    State says help is on the way, but no timeline given

    Featured Stories

    Arches, Canyonlands to reopen May 29

    Arches and Canyonlands national parks will partially reopen to the public at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the parks, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.

    The party is over at Imagination Station art supply store

    Cindy Sue Hunter serves a customer at her art supply store, Imagination Station, which has been reconfigured to allow shoppers to do what Hunter calls “door shopping."

    Lionsback Resort: City of Moab seeks help from Utah Supreme Court

    The City of Moab has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court a lower court’s finding that it should...
    Carter Pape
    Carter Papehttp://moabtimes.awebstudio.com/author/carter-pape/
    Reporter Carter Pape covers news out of the Grand County Council Chambers, including housing, tourism, crime, and more.
    The Department of Workforce Services distributes unemployment insurance payouts. A spokesperson for the department said that the department was still working to extend benefits for seasonal workers. Photo by Doug McMurdo

    Despite Congress approving last month an expansion to unemployment insurance programs nationwide, seasonal workers in Moab may soon see their benefits run out if they have not already. A spokesperson said that employees would eventually receive the expanded benefits, but when that will happen is uncertain.

    Moabites who work seasonally in the tourism industry get the option each year of receiving unemployment insurance starting late winter, a benefit that lasts them until early spring, when jobs become available again as tourists flood the valley.

    This year, due to a lack of tourism and the extended period of time many have gone without a job, some locals are now running out of unemployment benefits, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    Unemployed workers have a limit on how much money they can collect each year through the state’s unemployment office, and despite the federal government allowing states to extend the period of time for which workers can collect unemployment insurance payouts — despite even the extra $600 per week that the federal government has allocated for those who qualify for unemployment benefits — some local workers are not collecting either right now.

    “We went into this knowing this would happen,” said Brooke Porter Coles, a spokesperson for the Department of Workforce Services.

    The federal CARES Act, passed at the end of March, provides expansions to existing unemployment programs by allowing unemployed citizens to remain on the program 13 weeks longer than usual and receive an additional $600 per week.

    These programs are administered by the states and funded by the federal government, which also provides guidance to states on how to administer them.

    “We’ve gotten that guidance in waves,” Porter Coles said, adding that the last wave of guidance that Utah received was on the expanded unemployment benefits.

    As such, according to Porter Coles, Utah has not yet completed work on the expanded unemployment insurance program, so workers who are nearing or past the end of their eligibility for benefits will have to wait for the help to arrive.

    How long they must wait, though, is currently unknown. Porter Coles said that there was not a timeline available regarding when the benefits would become available to seasonal workers.

    Once seasonal workers have exhausted their unemployment insurance payouts, they can keep filing a weekly claim as usual, even if the unemployment office rejects their application.

    “If (seasonal workers) continue to file their weekly claim, it will make processing their claims quicker once the expanded benefits are available,” Porter Coles said.

    Share this!

    - Advertisement -

    Latest News

    Gas prices creep up as holiday dawns

    The national average price of gasoline has risen 2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $1.86 per gallon Monday.

    Nominees sought for Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize Advisory Council

    It will focus on endangered species protection, invasive species management, poaching and wildlife trafficking prevention, and nonlethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts, according to a press release from the department.

    School leaders say past months have taught ‘resilience,’ the power of relationships

    The Times-Independent interviewed Grand County High School Principal Steve Hren and Grand County School District Superintendent Taryn Kay on May 11 about their experience and thoughts about the two prior months, in which local campuses closed, and students were sent home to finish off their year doing distance education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The class of 2020 will celebrate like none before

    With physical distancing and social togetherness the name of the game amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the class of 2020 from Grand County High School will join their peers around the state, country and world to celebrate their graduation in a manner that will be altogether unprecedented and unique but will — to the degree that it is safe — bring them together to celebrate on May 28.

    Grand County High School 2020 Senior Class

    The class of 2020, including a photo of some of the soon-to-be graduates from kindergarten.