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Utah Department of Workforce Services provides more unemployment resources

The Utah Department of Workforce Services building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY– The Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has added additional unemployment resources for Utahns.

These resources include a FAQ related to the weekly claims process and an overview of the unemployment insurance process.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Utahns are out of work. Currently, DWS is processing a record number of unemployment claims. The amount of claims filed within the last few weeks exceeds all claims filed in 2019.

In a statement, the Unemployment Insurance Division says the department is doing its best to keep up with demand. In a statement released on Tuesday, the DWS said, “85% of claims from the first week of the COVID-19 impact (March 15-21) are now processed, thus meeting the 21-day expectation of service during normal circumstances.”

However, the division is quickly falling behind.  There was an unprecedented 2,400% increase in claims submitted for unemployment insurance the week of March, 15th.

The DWS warns that people should expect “disruptions to normal service levels including long wait times for call and chat services. Those seeking unemployment assistance should also expect a wait time of from 21-30 days for claims to be processed.

You can apply for unemployment at jobs.utah.gov.

Governor Gary Herbert is promoting a kind of loan program that could prevent people from needing to apply for unemployment insurance.  It’s called the Paycheck Protection Program, and it’s aimed at helping small business owners who employ 500 people or fewer.  It can cover any kind of business expense for up to eight weeks, but bosses need to follow certain rules to qualify.

“As long as businesses keep their employees on payroll and use the loan for operating expenses, the PPP loan will be forgiven,” he says.

He’s calling on business owners to apply for this as fast as possible.  They can also apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program through the Small Business Administration.”

Gov. Herbert says, “It’s for immediate expenses and past-due bills.  Just by applying directly through the SBA, whether you get the loan or not, you get a $10,000 stipend to help you with your expenses.  That’s a pretty good deal.”

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States