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Unemployed in Hawaii start to get extra federal aid

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Inside the Hawaii Convention Center, legislators and other state employees volunteer to learn how to process the backlog of unemployment claims on Monday. In this room, there are 150 work stations set up to process unemployment claims.

    DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Inside the Hawaii Convention Center, legislators and other state employees volunteer to learn how to process the backlog of unemployment claims on Monday. In this room, there are 150 work stations set up to process unemployment claims.

The state has finally begun to distribute extra federal unemployment benefit payments to Hawaii residents who have lost income amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced today that it paid out $44.8 million of federal “plus up” payments over a seven-day period ended Thursday.

This sum represents the first distribution by DLIR of the federal unemployment aid, which adds $600 per week to the state unemployment benefit that can be up to $648 a week but varies by an individual’s income.

DLIR reported paying $23.2 million in state unemployment benefits over the same seven days.

The state benefit distribution represents an increase from $11.2 million two weeks earlier and $2.9 million in each of the first three weeks of March.

Thousands of newly unemployed residents, however, have not been able to receive benefits or maintain weekly benefits because of continued problems with the state’s online unemployment system being unable to handle the volume of new claims and the requirement to update claims weekly or biweekly.

More than 250,000 residents have filed unemployment claims with the state since mid-March.

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