State begins issuing pandemic unemployment funds

Federal pandemic unemployment compensation checks of $600 each are starting to go out to workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, state labor officials said.

The first federal disbursement includes $12,853,200 to 16,183 Alaskans currently covered by unemployment insurance, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on Tuesday, April 14.

Payments are retroactive to the week ended April 4 and are in addition to the state unemployment benefit. Those who have already received a state benefit for the week ended April 4 will receive a separate disbursement with the additional $600.

That $600 payment will be available for every week of eligibility under a state or federal unemployment insurance program through July 25.

Applications for self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers will begin to be processed the week of April 20, with payments issued about two weeks later. Self-employed individuals who previously filed and received ineligibility notification will be contacted for income verification to complete application processing, the labor department said.