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Nebraska Department of Labor processing thousands of unemployment benefit requests

Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 23:10:06-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — The state's labor commission has important information for those who are now unemployed due to the pandemic.

"Our people are a little overwhelmed," Commissioner John Albin said. "We've been able to take the claims but processing them once we get them has been a challenge."

Albin says the state is trying to clear the backlogs of thousands of unemployment benefit requests.

He tells 3 News Now they've received roughly 95,000 requests since early March.

"Just to give you some idea of how it affects our system it's basically two years worth of claims that we normally would take in a matter of a few weeks," Albin said.

But, He says despite the backlog, people should still file claims if they haven't already.

"We're working to eliminate that backlog, we've brought on probably 150 new staff to try and dig into that backlog," Albin said.

As for people who've been furloughed, there's a specific process to follow.

"In terms of the furlough process itself if someone files their claim their employer has 10 days to respond to that," Albin said. "In most cases when they're on furlough the employer responds right away and says yes they're on furlough."

Once those benefits have been approved, Albin says people will then need to file weekly certifications of eligibility for their state unemployment benefits.

"Once it gets established that they're monetarily eligible for those benefits we pay not only what their benefit amount is determined to be, but also in addition to that we would pay the $600 federal pandemic unemployment compensation," Albin said.

Albin also tells 3 News Now, he wants to reassure people the state is working as fast as it can to get payments out.

"Be patient," he said. "Don't go out into crowds, stay home, stay sheltered when possible and we'll get through this."

You can find detailed information about what type of benefits you're eligible for, here.