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State Offers Options on Extending Unemployment Benefits

January 30, 2021, 5:40 PM HST
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File photo.

The state is offering choices to unemployed residents on how they’d like to continue to receive benefits.

Programming updates and federal funding has allowed the Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) to provide the options of either Extended Benefits (EB20) or Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC) for claimants that filed for EB20 between Dec. 15, 2020, and Dec. 28, 2020.

“Although we are happy to bring much-needed relief to certain claimants, we are also diligently working to launch other aspects of the Continued Assistance Act, including the extended Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program for eligible claimants,” said Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, DLIR Director. “We have exercised great caution in programming changes due to the nature of the antiquated mainframe at the core of the unemployment insurance system and the complexity of the new programs. Any benefits delayed will be paid retroactively if necessary and claimants will be made whole.”

EB20 provides for an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those who have exhausted their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits and otherwise meet the EB20 requirements. The PEUC program increases the number of weeks of benefits an individual can claim from 13 to 24.

DLIR sent emails Saturday night to claimants that filed for EB20 between Dec. 15 and Dec. 28. Claimants will have until Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. to choose one of two options.

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Claimants that do not respond will have their claim automatically processed for EB20. Claimants will need to login to their web account and click on the “Extended Benefits Survey” button to make their selection. The survey is available on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Claimants choosing to continue their PEUC claim will receive benefits from weeks ending Jan. 2 and onward. The department is currently performing programming and testing to implement the extended PEUC program.

Once implemented, PEUC is available between Dec. 27, 2020, and the week ending March 13, 2021, and allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 13 to continue through April 10, 2021, as long as the individual has not reached the maximum number of weeks.

The department issued Federal Pandemic Unemployment (FPUC, $300 plus-up) for all eligible claimants for weeks ending Jan.2 through Jan. 23 during the last week. All eligible claimants will receive FPUC for weeks ending Jan. 2 through March 13, 2021.

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The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) was signed into law extending Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act unemployment provisions on Dec. 28.

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