Alabama Department of Labor working to catch up on claims as federal benefit expires


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabamians who receive weekly unemployment benefits might notice their next checks are a lot lighter.

That’s because the additional $600 federal benefit most claimants have received since April, expired July 25.

“This week will be the last payment they will receive unless and until Congress takes additional action,” explained Tara Hutchinson, Spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Labor.

As of now, the Senate continues to hash out what they believe a new stimulus package should look like. ADOL said there could be a number of changes to extended unemployment assistance.

“We could see the same thing; we could see a reduction in that amount, or we could see a totally new program,” Hutchinson said. “It really just depends on, you know, what Congress is able to agree to and pass. “

Meanwhile, there are still some Alabamians who have not received their benefits, neither state nor federal, and can’t seem to get the help they need.

ADOL said its main focus is trying to open up more lines of communication for claimants, something the state agency has struggled with for months.

“We have around 300 staff members that can return those calls,” Hutchinson added. “So we’re only able to get up around 6000 or 7000 calls on a daily basis, which is obviously not even a dent in the number of calls that are coming in.”

Currently ADOL staff are being called in on weekends to return phone calls.

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