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State Asks For Patience While Addressing Unemployment Delays

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About 100,000 New Mexicans are on the state’s rolls for unemployment insurance right now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them qualify for longer-than-usual periods of benefits that expired last year, but have now been reinstated and extended to March 13.

Extended aid for people unemployed because of COVID-19 is again available through New Mexico’s unemployment insurance system after more than a month’s delay in benefits. 

Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley said people who missed out on benefits since the beginning of the year because they used their allotment of regular unemployment insurance or because they are self-employed can backdate their claims to January 2nd. 

The department has doubled the number of operators taking calls for help, McCamley said, and has been working to update computer systems to jive with U.S. Department of Labor requirements to ensure the cash keeps flowing.

McCamley asked for patience as the department works its way through the backlog. “I apologize for how complicated this entire system is. We’re working through issues as fast as we can. I know there’s frustration,” he said.  

McCamley said last year’s CARES Act money for broadened unemployment eligibility expired at the end December because Congress acted slowly to authorize an extension and former President Trump then waited a week to sign off on it. 

President Biden has proposed extending unemployment payments through September including an additional $400 per week – $100 more than the current pandemic assistance.   


To hear a longer discussion with Sec. McCamley listen to this week's episode of our show No More Normal.

Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.
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