Unemployment claim increases may be due to Derecho, IWD says


DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Workforce Development says an increase in new unemployment claims filed between August 16 and August 22 may be due to Iowans left without jobs due to the derecho that blew through Iowa on August 10.

According to IWD, there were 6,954 initial claims filed, and the number of continuing weekly unemployment claims for the time period was 84,248. That is 957 new claims from the previous week and 1,806 continuing claims.

The number of initial claims in Linn County, which was severely impacted by the derecho, increased to 1,668 from 411 for the week prior to the storm.

Payments totaling $23,295,591.51 were released to unemployed Iowans for the latest week.

FEMA approved Iowa’s application to participate in the “Lost Wates Assistance” program on August 14th. That means Iowans who lost employment due to the pandemic, and who are eligible for at least $100 in weekly benefits, will qualify for an additional $300 in weekly benefits retroactive to the week ending Aug. 1st.

IWD says it will update its website with more information about that program as soon as it receives the information from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The work search requirement was waived at the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, but IWD says it will be reinstated starting September 8.

More information on unemployment claims and assistance programs can be found here.

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