AL.com — Gov. Kay Ivey should work with the legislature to extend the length of time unemployment benefits will be doled out as Alabama grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Alabama’s two Democratic federal legislators said Thursday.
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, sent a letter to the governor Thursday urging that unemployment benefits be extended to 26 weeks.
In June, the state Legislature passed a bill that cut unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to between 14 and 19 weeks, depending on Alabama’s unemployment rate.
Jones and Sewell said the current crisis warrants a reverse of that bill.
“Alabama’s economy relies on workers across a variety of sectors and industries who will be impacted by the spread of COVID-19. We are facing unprecedented economic upheaval, and families will increasingly rely on these funds to afford basic necessities, including food, housing, and medication,” Jones and Sewll wrote. “One of our top priorities must be to support workers and families facing difficult financial circumstances due to the pandemic.”
Ivey’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The push to extend unemployment benefits came the same day the Alabama Department of Labor reported more than 6,000 Alabamians filed unemployment claims so far this week -- more than the claims filed all of last month.
Alabamians can receive a maximum of $275 per week in unemployment benefits if they qualify. Workers must lose jobs through no fault of their own and be actively seeking employment to be covered, among other requirements.
(Howard Koplowitz, AL.com)