Kansas labor department reduces claimant backlog

The Kansas Department of Labor has made changes to a backlog of claimants for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The department cut back on the buildup by moving a portion of claimants to other unemployment programs. The shift reduces the number of filers waiting in a backlog for benefits.

A large portion of Kansas residents expecting federal unemployment benefits originally meant for the self-employed have been moved to other unemployment programs as the labor department works to reduce a backlog.

The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) announced changes in its reporting of the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimant backlog.

The shift has reduced the number of people waiting in a backlog for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, benefits. More than 10,000 impacted workers moved to different federal unemployment programs to receive benefits.

This gap caused a confusing situation for claimants who had exhausted regular state unemployment benefits and the existing extension of benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.

Without the extension at the federal level, claimants were instructed to file for PUA, which is intended to be the benefit of last resort for unemployment benefits.

Of the originally reported PUA backlog, 66 percent, or 10,100 claimants, fell in this category. An additional 25 percent, or 3,770 claimant applications, were deemed to be likely fraudulent. KDOL’s Fraud Team is further reviewing these claims now.