Published: 11:18 am, Wed. Sep. 16th, 2020Updated: 3:03 pm
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico labor officials said Wednesday a $300 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits expired on Sept. 5. as payments continue for backdated claims.
The Department of Workforce Solutions announced the tentative end of federal supplements to state unemployment benefits.
The state is distributing lump-sum $1,500 payments that cover the first five weeks of the program, to be followed by one additional $300 payment. That is independent of standard state unemployment benefits that are capped at $461 a week.
President Donald Trump’s $300-a-week jobless aid program was created by an executive order last month after a more generous version adopted by Congress expired and Trump and Congress failed to reach agreement on a new aid package.
“We continue to strongly ask that Congress and the president come up with comprehensive stimulus for our communities with help for workers, schools, businesses, and state and local governments,” Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley said in a statement.
The initial $600 weekly federal supplement in New Mexico ran from April though late July, propping up household income and spending amid a surge in job losses linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
In other responses to the pandemic, Las Cruces Public Schools board members unanimously voted Tuesday to continue online instruction for most students though the remainder of the fall semester and possibly longer, depending on health guidelines.
Superintendent Karen Trujillo proposed continuing remote learning, except for small groups of students in special education, preschool students and others with a greater need for in-person instruction, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
The exemption includes new English learners, homeless, migrant or foster students, students who are not engaged and students who are at risk of failure. These students will have their temperature checked and be required to do a daily wellness check in order to attend classroom instruction.
Some parents raised concerns about technological difficulties and lack of consistency with the online system and argued for a sooner return.
Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick but for most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.