ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexicans receiving unemployment benefits can expect to see an extra $300 added to their weekly benefits soon.
However, unemployed New Mexicans who have exhausted their benefits will have to wait for additional guidance.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions announced Wednesday that it will begin paying some benefits approved under the federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020.
“Gov. (Michelle) Lujan Grisham’s administration understands how hard this situation is right now, and staff at the Department of Workforce Solutions are doing everything we can to stand programs up and get money in to people’s pockets during this really difficult time,” said Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley in a prepared statement.
Stacy Johnston, spokeswoman for the state workforce department, said the program will provide an extra $300 per week for claimants who have not yet exhausted state or federal unemployment benefits.
Johnston said New Mexicans receiving standard state unemployment benefits should continue certifying for unemployment as they do every week.
New Mexicans who were eligible for standard benefits for the weeks starting Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 will receive an additional $300 for each of those weeks starting Sunday, and each eligible week moving forward until the program ends on March 13, according to the state workforce department.
Johnston said claimants who had been receiving benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation may certify for the expanded benefits beginning Sunday, provided they were still eligible for the programs during the week of Dec. 26. If approved, they will also receive the weekly benefit through March 13.
A few other states, including Arizona and California, began issuing the expanded benefits Monday, while other states are expecting to put the program in place later this month, according to CNBC. Johnston said the program is comparatively easy to implement because it builds on the existing unemployment framework.
“We already have our system in place and ready to go,” Johnston said.
However Johnston said the state is still awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding renewing a couple federal programs for claimants who exhausted their benefits before Dec. 26. Johnston said she is hopeful federal guidance will come later this week.