TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Unemployed Kansans have been told they will receive a Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week, as signed by President Donald Trump in the CARES Act.
However, weeks have passed and no one has received their check.
Rebecca Call of Hutchinson worked as a receptionist for a hair salon, until Governor Laura Kelly’s stay-at-home order was enacted in late March and they had to close their doors.
“I didn’t have a choice in the matter of being unemployed, like a lot of us haven’t had a choice,” Call said. “We have jobs we just can’t go to them.”
Receiving $90 a week due to child support obligations being deducted, Call said she is barely staying afloat in paying for bills. Luckily, her husband is still employed and makes enough for them to get by.
“My husband tells me we’ll make it somehow, some way, but at the same time, you can see the stress in his eyes,” Call said. “I have a daughter that tells me to quit sucking the system. That’s not what I’m doing.”
Call has not received any payments this week and said receiving an additional $600 would be beneficial.
However, Call said the estimated date of when she will receive the payment continues to be pushed back.
The state has received criticism from U.S. lawmakers about how they are handling the situation.
“My office and I continue to field calls by frustrated Kansans who need immediate relief to pay their bills and feed their families,” U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) said.
The funds for the $600 weekly payments were distributed to the state of Kansas by April 7, Moran said after confirming with the U.S. Department of Labor.
“COVID-19 is not only a health crisis, but an economic crisis for families trying to keep food on the table and pay bills,” Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas) said in a statement. “Now it’s time for Governor Kelly and her administration to focus on the needs of hurting Kansans and fix these issues.”
Both Moran and Estes voted in favor of the CARES Act.
“As the Kansas Department of Labor continues its efforts to provide both state and federal expanded unemployment benefits to Kansas workers, we want to thank our many partners under the dome in Kansas and at the federal level for working with us to overcome this financial and health crisis,” Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Delía García said in a statement to KSNT News.
However, there now may be a shining light at the end of the tunnel as to when unemployed Kansans can start receiving this additional benefit.
“We are hopeful that the $600 FPUC payments will…start getting added to checks maybe sometime next week for those who are unemployed,” Shawn Yancy, deputy director for unemployment insurance for the Kansas Department of Labor, said.
The department’s IT has to first finish some technical duties, such as coding, before they can proceed, Yancy said.
The state will announce when they will begin dispersing the payments, Yancy said. Nothing needs to be done by Kansans to receive these benefits, as they will automatically be added to your account.
All unemployment benefits, including the $600 payments, are taxable. Starting January 1, 2021, the state will begin sending out 10-99 forms with the various amounts included for anyone who did receive benefits.
However, Kansans do have the opportunity to withhold taxes from their unemployment benefits. A form to do this can be found on the department’s unemployment website.
Child support obligations are also withheld from the $600 payments, as well as other unemployment benefits, as required by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Yancy said.