In the past three weeks, 36,211 people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, or more than 10% of all workers in the state of Alaska at this point in the year. This time around, Bishop said his former agency is also “looking at doing an accelerated version” of training for new workers. “When I get emails like that, that rings alarm bells.”. “These issues will all be fought out in state legislatures,” he said. The boost would come on top of the regular weekly unemployment payment, which averaged about $250 before the pandemic began. “If there is any tiny shred of silver lining to this pandemic, I think folks are beginning to recognize that Alaska’s UI benefits are significantly lagging behind and it needs to increase," Drygas said. Another is that some live in locations appropriate to a subsistence economy that have not yet become, and may never be, viable in a Western cash economy in the long … Once registered, you’ll be issued … But when they take care of their own child, they are not considered part … Lex Treinen, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage - March 19, 2020. “Our hardware, software system to be able to distribute those checks, we’re having a problem with it,” he said. There also are separate numbers for claim centers in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. Meier said only South Dakota did not apply for the unique relief program. You must actively seek employment, while keeping a record of your work search activities. She got her first deposit Wednesday. Since 2005 the unemployment rate in Alaska has ranged from 5.2% in August 1998 to 13.7% in April 2020. But the Alaska job market is still in the doldrums, with unemployment the highest in the nation at 7.3 percent, even while nearly 9,000 people left in the last year. In Kodiak, Moody even tried the department’s fax number, without response so far. We settled upon any place with over 2,000 people and data available for our criteria. In 2010, it took four to six weeks to train additional staff needed to process claims. All rights reserved. We then looked at the unemployment rates to determine the … State Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, said some Alaskans have contacted her, asking with increasing desperation when the payment will come through. Tarr has pressed the state for quick delivery of the money. The Alaska unemployment rate has been fluctuating over the last decade. Biden blocks drilling in ANWR, among his first acts as president, Bernie and his mittens travel Alaska, in meme form, Alaska development bank forecloses on oil field assets after $70 million investment, Alaska Gov. Register With the Department of Labor. Since the pandemic began, he lost work as a carpet cleaner, and his fiancee lost her job as a bartender. “CARES program coverage for the self employed will be operational in the next 3 to 4 weeks,” Ledbetter wrote by email. It is going to take them one, to three to four weeks on the outside to get this running. Approval for a six-week program in Alaska came in early September, Ledbetter said in the statement. The state continues to cite technology issues as the reason for the delay. Since then, it gradually improved as businesses have attempted to reopen safely, … When additional information is available we will update this message. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — … The state labor department on Friday continued to describe the delayed payments as a problem involving information technology associated with the department’s existing computer systems and the requirement for a new payment system from the U.S. Department of Labor. Amanda Filori, a Juneau artist, offered a handful of tips that she said worked for her: Call early (call centers open at 9 a.m.), wait on hold, be polite and read the unemployment pamphlet before calling. “When I was commissioner during the Great Recession in 2008, we had one room on the second floor dedicated just for a classroom, training new claims takers,” he said. Drygas, the former labor commissioner, said the pandemic has highlighted how the state’s unemployment benefits are “painfully low,” inadequate for rent and other high costs in Alaska, she said. A more generous unemployment insurance system may require bypassing states’ incentives. It’s a scary and frustrating situation and more communication about it from the state would be nice,” she said. “The best thing people can do with unemployment claims right now is file online,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage and chair of the Alaska House’s committee on labor and commerce. Gov. The extra payment that didn’t come last week, as expected, was difficult for his family, he said. He said he’s buying and repairing old washers, dryers and other appliances he finds on Craigslist to make enough to pay for food and gas for his vehicle. Drygas, the former labor commissioner, said the pandemic has highlighted how the state’s unemployment benefits are “painfully low,” inadequate for rent and other high costs in Alaska, she said. The state is in the “final stages” of testing the payments, the statement said. Alaska will continue to update our information concerning the CARES Act as it becomes available. You can register for an account with AKDOL either online or on paper. Unemployment Insurance Benefits has sent you here to sign in. Principal Causes of the Unemployment Problem. “You can’t get through,” she said. The program needs a mechanism so payments rise with inflation, she said. Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. Alaska Job Center Network. It then began a slow but steady recovery that reached a low of 3.5% in February 2020. Also, Alaska often refers to Employment Security Tax (EST) rather than unemployment insurance tax. [More than 36,000 Alaskans file jobless claims in 3 weeks as coronavirus stifles the economy]. “They’re so, so flooded with people.”. AlaskaJobs is accessed through myAlaska and you will need a … Also, you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday that payments will go out as soon as possible. In 2019, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1 percent. Click to enter AlaskaJobs The AlaskaJobs system has replaced ALEXsys. He managed to get through by phone but said that as a self-employed freelancer, the system wasn’t ready for him. The statement from Alaska’s labor department provided some explanations for the challenges on Friday: • The Lost Wages program is not part of the Unemployment Insurance program. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Rachael Byrd, who was general manager of Juneau’s Salt restaurant, said she applied March 22 but ran into an issue. You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She also said that anyone whose application is delayed will receive retroactive payments effective as of the date they lost their job or had their hours reduced, back to March 1. That will … “This is over a week into calling, and I still have yet to get through to anybody.”. See how other local areas compare by using our Unemployment Compare tool. This problem of how we count people’s activities in Alaska is incremental to the problems with the unemployment rate as a statistic everywhere. While many have reported problems, Filiori said she was successful applying online and reaching unemployment experts by phone. “It’s been a really long time since Alaskans saw the $600 benefit,” and they need to pay bills, she said. The unemployment rate in Alaska peaked in April 2020 at 13.5% and is now 5.4 percentage points lower. All rights reserved. Please do not attempt to contact the UI claim centers … Bill Walker, said the unemployment insurance program is staffed with long-term employees who are committed to doing a good job. 6,933 jobs available in Alaska on Indeed.com. “They should have sat people down and handwritten the damn checks.”. 19.1%. Employment with the State of Alaska is more than just a job. ’Patience, ’ she said, was key. Professions in state government help support many aspects of life in the Last Frontier including healthcare, protection of citizens, and preserving natural resources, just to name a few. Once operational, individuals may be eligible for $600 per week, plus the a state benefit which will closely mirror the current coverage for insured workers.”. Home>Get Legal Info>Coronavirus (COVID-19) Back to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Unemployment (COVID-19) Legal Information (1) Legal Help Directory; Filter By: Language. … Skagway Municipality, AK unemployment rate . A Guide to Alaska Unemployment Insurance. He needs a “roundabout date” to tell bill collectors when he can pay, he said, and the wait has been frustrating. • The previous $600 weekly federal benefit that ended in late July was disbursed through the traditional unemployment insurance system. Symaron George of Haines said her online application, filed March 30, went through “without a problem,” but she was disappointed that her payment did not include a promised federal stimulus or an extra payment approved by legislators. Mike Dunleavy said in a press conference on Wednesday that the state is working urgently to get the payments out. (James Brooks / ADN). AK Highest Unemployment by County. A record number of people are applying for unemployment benefits as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and state systems are struggling to withstand the traffic. myAlaska Login Username: Forgot my Username: Forgot my Password: New User: Register for a myAlaska Account The unemployment rate peaked at around 10% following the 2008–09 financial crisis. “At that time, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the program would be operational in six to eight weeks,” she said. 36,211 people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, Biden blocks drilling in ANWR, among his first acts as president, Bernie and his mittens travel Alaska, in meme form, Alaska development bank forecloses on oil field assets after $70 million investment, Alaska Gov. Byrd, seen in her apartment Thursday, April 9, 2020, said she has been unable to reach unemployment officials by phone and is frustrated by changing rules and regulations. U.S. unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent last month, well within the range considered to be full employment by federal agencies that monitor such data. Learn about … Once you find yourself in financial trouble getting yourself out of it is no easy task at all. So we’re looking at putting some patches in pretty quick.”. On Friday, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development announced that the COVID-19 small business grants program was being expanded. Thanks. Apply for State Jobs. Northwest Arctic Borough, AK unemployment … If you are unable to file online, you can file by phone using the automated filing system … But on Friday, it was still unknown when the money — representing up to six weeks of $300 extra payments — would arrive. This value went up to 7.8% in the summer of 2003. Hans Moody had worked for RavnAir, loading and unloading aircraft in Kodiak for 23 years. “Income verification, USDOL reporting agreements, staff training, and a new requirement to deduct federal withholding tax are currently in the works. Several beneficiaries awaiting the supplement have reached out to the Daily News in recent weeks, expressing frustration with the lack of payments needed for rent, food and other expenses, after the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread layoffs. How We Determined The Cities In Alaska With The Lowest Unemployment Rates Before we could dive into what Alaska’s most employed cities were, we needed to know where to look in the first place. New coding is required. Three weeks ago, department officials said Alaskans could leave call-back numbers if they didn’t want to wait on hold, but the number of calls has grown so large that even that system has been overwhelmed. (James Brooks / ADN), The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor are seen Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Juneau. “In the age of instant everything, they take months and months,” he said. On March 27, President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which would boost the maximum unemployment payment by $600, cover self-employed workers normally ineligible and extend the period that Alaskans can claim unemployment. “My unemployment just barely covered my electric with $20 left over for two weeks. By. For example, if two stay-at-home parents tended to each other’s children and were paid equal wages, they would both be considered employed. This new payment, designed to help offset the loss of that $600 federal payment, will be made in one lump sum of up to $1,800, the statement said. But programming issues have been a problem in the past, and there would be challenges with standing up a new system for a service that’s heavily regulated by the federal government, she said. Apply to Processor, Receptionist, Talent Bank Employee - Positions Available Are: Full Time -- Part Time -- On Call and more! Published April 9, 2020 Rachael Byrd of Juneau is one of more than 30,000 Alaskans who have applied for unemployment in the past few weeks. There are multiple reasons that many Alaska Natives have not gained meaningful entry into the cash economy. When he tried to update his application, the online process prompted him to call. Rachael Byrd of Juneau is one of more than 30,000 Alaskans who have applied for unemployment in the past few weeks. Cathy Muñoz, deputy commissioner for the department, said on Oct. 12 that the payments, covering a six-week period, would begin last week. (James Brooks / ADN). Close to 40,000 Alaskans have received weekly unemployment benefits in October, about 12% of the workforce, according to the state labor department. With 40,000 Alaskans on unemployment and 90,000 having received assistance this year, we are in unprecedented territory. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. Claims are effective Sunday of the week in which you open or reopen it. TeachMeFinance.com presents the Alaska Unemployment Map, by county, not seasonally adjusted. That remains the advice today. Starting Aug. 6, commercial fishermen across Alaska can apply for grants worth between $5,000 and $100,000. As an Alaska employer, your small business must establish an Alaska UI tax account with the Alaska Department of Labor (AKDOL). “I would tell people to keep calling. Alaskans applying for unemployment say they’re feeling frustrated by clogged phone lines, uncertain regulations and a confusing application process. Money Problems: Housing: Seniors: Life Planning: Health Care & Public Benefits: Native American Issues: Victims' Rights : Using Tribal Court: Find Legal Help; Classrooms; Search. “All applicants who previously received notification that their application was incomplete due to the actively seeking work requirement will be notified this week that their applications are approved,” she said. People who are out of work should reach out to the department’s reemployment services, Ledbetter said. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if you’d like to communicate with us about a particular article. Bob Allain, a heating systems installer from Palmer who has been laid off for seven months, said his $1,800 will be spent as soon as it arrives to catch up on recent months of unpaid heating, electric and other bills. The state labor department said it works with multiple entities to provide employment and training information at 14 Alaska job centers statewide, and job seekers can call 877-724-2539 for more information. The current unemployment rate for Alaska is 6.4% for August 2020. Barrow Unemployment Office: 1078 Kiogak Street, PO Box 949, Barrow, AK 99723 (907) 852-4111: Bristol Bay (Dillingham) Unemployment Office: 503 Wood River Rd., PO Box 1149 Dillingham, AK 99576-1149 (907) 842-5579: Eagle River Unemployment Office: 11723 Old Glenn Hwy, Sp B-4 Eagle River, AK 99577-7749 (907) 694-6904: Fairbanks Unemployment Office “One person said, ‘I hope the depression doesn’t get the best of me,’” Tarr said. Report UI fraud. Alaska Unemployment. Now, callers say they’re hearing a prerecorded message that disconnects the phone line at the end. Alaska unemployment claims skyrocket after coronavirus shuts down restaurants. A form to help you do so can be found on Alaska's unemployment website. In Alaska, you can file an unemployment benefits claim either online or by phone. The department erred when it said the money would go out last week but did not deliver, she said. Alaskans out of work due to COVID-19 can fall back on unemployment for the next few months. “If I don’t get my unemployment, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Moody said. The U.S. Department of Labor has required that Alaska not mingle the federal emergency money with funds from the state’s $323 million unemployment trust fund. “Many are surprised to learn of the full range of employment and training services available,” she said. Relief and retroactive payments are coming, they say, but many Alaskans worry whether it will come in time for them to pay bills. That extra payment was authorized for Alaskans who care for children or dependent adults. FEMA approved the grant for Alaska on Aug. 23, ahead of many other states, according to FEMA’s website. A video of 66 months of Alaska unemployment in 66 seconds, from January 2007 through June 2012. Reports of Fraud or suspicion can be reported by email at email@example.com; fax at (907) 269-4835; or phone at (907) 269-4880 or toll free at (877) 272-4635. Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said Wednesday that “there are approximately 100 staff currently assigned to the processing of unemployment insurance claims.”. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, was commissioner of the state Department of Labor in 2010, the last time unemployment applications peaked. Spohnholz said she was told the agency is also upgrading its phone and computer systems. The state labor department is getting increasing pressure to distribute the money. To apply online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, go to my.alaska.gov and click on “Unemployment Insurance Benefits”. That many in rural Alaska still rely on the subsistence economy for many of their needs is one of the most important reasons. The complaints aren’t universal. Once it does, it will be efficient,” Bishop said. Unemployment is one of the most critical economic issues facing the country as it balances re-opening with safety months into the pandemic. That includes normal technicians, people the department has reassigned, and six former employees who came out of retirement to help. What we do makes a difference to the people of Alaska. “We understand that many Alaskans are in a very difficult financial situation, and we are working to get payments out as soon as possible,” said Tamika Ledbetter, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, in a statement released early Friday afternoon. • The current unemployment system is designed for funds to be disbursed only through that system. She said she had the best luck calling the statewide toll-free number. Though many changes are still in the works, Ledbetter said the department has already eliminated the requirement that Alaskans prove they are seeking work while unemployed and has waived a one-week waiting period for benefits. “We are telling the state, keep your promise, do your job,” Patterson, 30, said of the rally. Michael Patterson, 30, said he helped organized a caravan protest with the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Anchorage on Friday afternoon to highlight the need for the payments to get out. 3. A U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, Patterson said his family, including three children, are scraping by on his veteran benefits and the small unemployment check his fiancee currently receives. Byrd, seen in … Three weeks ago, anticipating the surge to come, state officials urged Alaskans to file for unemployment online. The state of Alaska is ranked 2nd in Unemployment Offices per capita, and 41st in Unemployment Offices per square mile. With rent and other bills coming due for Alaskans, the state has still not distributed the maximum $1,800 federal boost to unemployment benefits that tens of thousands of residents have been counting on. That’s what happened to Kendra Skultka of Sitka, a former commercial fisherman who worked at a restaurant until it closed during the coronavirus pandemic. The state cannot pay people the extra money by using money from the unemployment insurance trust fund. In April, after governments shut down the economy, the unemployment rate reached 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression. Gov. This is down from a high of 8.9 percent in 1992. [Earlier coverage: Tens of thousands of Alaskans await $300 weekly unemployment boost as state blames tech glitches]. “We have no failsafe, no backup plan,” he said. In Kodiak, Moody first filed for partial aid because he was told that his hours were being reduced. Alaska law provides severe penalties for attempting to collect benefits fraudulently. Heidi Drygas, an attorney who led the state labor department under former Gov. According to the BLS current population survey (CPS), the unemployment rate for Alaska rose 2.2 percentage points in November 2020 to 8.1%.The state unemployment rate was 1.4 percentage points higher than the national rate for the month. Dunleavy pitches Permanent Fund dividend change amid legislative splits, ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties. In 2000, the Alaska unemployment rate was around 6.2%. Alaska is assessing President Trump’s Executive Order issued August 8th which potentially extends additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. “That’s just nowhere near enough.”. You must continue to file bi-weekly (every 2 weeks). This left us with 23 places in Alaska. To access employment and training resources we encourage the use of our online resources at www.jobs.alaska.gov or you may contact your local job center at (877) 724-2539 to speak to a job center representative. Search site Advanced Search. myAlaska Help For assistance with your myAlaska account, 1-866-377-0126 Check out the myAlaska FAQs. JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Claims for unemployment benefits have risen sharply in Alaska as concerns over the coronavirus ripple through the state, officials said Thursday. He previously reported and edited for the Juneau Empire, Kodiak Daily Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. © 2021 Anchorage Daily News. An entirely new system must be built with separate accounting and financial reporting requirements. “Right now, the phone system only allows 250 calls at a time,” Spohnholz said. The Legislature has increased the payments only on rare occasions over the past two decades, she said. On Thursday, for example, the Alaska Department of Labor said Alaskans can apply weekly for unemployment, instead of every two weeks, as had been the practice before now. Take Our Survey and Tell Us What You Think! Alex Meier, a private attorney in Atlanta focusing on pandemic assistance for Seyfarth Shaw, an international law firm that deals with labor and employment issues, said that as far as he knows, Alaska is the last of the 49 approved states to distribute the payments. “An additional 75 staff will be hired this week,” Ledbetter wrote by email. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With less than a week remaining before Alaska’s state lawmakers gavel in for the start of the 32nd Legislature, small business owners in Alaska are making it known they there is a list of priorities that they want to see addressed before the end of session.. Thor Stacey, the director of Alaska’s chapter of the National Federation of … Moody, whose wife is collecting disability, joined more than 30,000 Alaskans who have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks. Many more Alaskans are believed to be out of work but have not filed for one reason or another. A separate phone line, 1-866-377-0126, has been set up to help people who have technical problems with the online application system, rather than their particular application. (That peak was less than a third of the current weekly volume.). If it tried, the money would not be reimbursed. To file a claim and to manage your account, go here and create an online account. “I kept calling and calling, never getting through — days in a row,” she said. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating for (workers) too, because they’re breaking new ground. From then until Spring of 2007, the Alaska unemployment rate went down to an all time low of 5.9% for that decade. Meanwhile, the state agency in charge of unemployment has been scrambling to hire workers, upgrade equipment and implement a swath of rule changes ordered by elected state and federal officials. On Sunday, he learned along with the rest of the state that Alaska’s largest rural airline had declared bankruptcy. “It was a really frustrating call,” he said. Beau Sylte of Sitka said that can’t come soon enough. But if Alaskans run into a problem with that online process, they see a prompt that tells them to call the Department of Labor, and that has been a problem for many. Juneau-based James Brooks covers state government, the Alaska Legislature and general assignments for the Daily News. The next day, he was told he didn’t have a job at all. There are 18 Unemployment Offices in Alaska, serving a population of 738,565 people in an area of 570,488 square miles.There is 1 Unemployment Office per 41,031 people, and 1 Unemployment Office per 31,693 square miles.. … The supplement, known as Lost Wages Assistance, was approved by President Donald Trump in August, using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 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