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Representatives from Utah’s Department of Workforce Services report to the Richfield Mall that extra federal funding will be added to unemployed people’s insurance payments on Tuesday April 14.

The federal government has promised to add an extra $600 to existing unemployment support, courtesy of the CARES Act, passed by Congress just days ago. Insiders report their understanding that those funds are being sent to states this week and should appear in unemployed workers’ weekly bank deposits next Tuesday.

Others say the telephone menu system walks callers through a menu then disconnects, reporting the system is overloaded with calls for the rest of the entire day — starting early in the mornings.

Meanwhile, calls into DWS have increased over 2,000 percent, with wait times to speak with a represenative exceeding three hours. Some callers report being disconnected when the system shuts off at 5 pm each day.

Insiders say the best time to reach reps is to call right at 7 a.m. — or to try the “Live Chat” system on their website at the same hour. And be patient.

Locally, the Richfield DWS office is said to be quite crowded every day — a risky proposition for people in need. Most services are available online.

The extra $600 for each person is funded through July of this year, in the recession caused by the Coronavirus Crisis, and may be extended beyond that. The amount was calculated by Congress to estimate an average of 60% of most American workers’ salaries ($1,000 per week). Traditional unemployment is offered at about 40% of a workers’ former salary.

This federal money was said by federal government reps to include self-employed and independent contractors, which Utah hasn’t supported in the past with “Traditional Unemployment Insurance.” At this time, Utah DWS is saying they are still programming a new system for what they are calling “Pandemic Unemployment Insurance” to accommodate the self-employed and independent contractors.

Note that This info could change at any time, however.

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