Gig, self-employed workers’ wait for unemployment benefits in Kansas will last weeks longer

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Gig and self-employed workers who have been laid off in Kansas will have to wait several more weeks to collect unemployment benefits.

Gig workers, such as Uber drivers, and self-employed people have not previously been eligible for unemployment benefits. Congress extended coverage to these workers last month through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is part of the federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act.

Payments to those workers through the PUA program are retroactive to Jan. 27, but Kansas Department of Labor spokeswoman said Monday that it will take the state between three and six more weeks to begin making those payments.

Labor Department spokeswoman Julie Menghini told the Kansas City Business Journal that the payments were delayed because the state had to build the new program from scratch, since gig and self-employed workers previously have not been eligible for benefits.

“We are still awaiting some additional guidance from (the U.S. Department of Labor), but we are developing the program now, with what we know at this point,” she said in a Monday email.

Read about the range of payments and how a similar program is working in Missouri in the Kansas City Business Journal.

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