MDES scrambles to issue emergency benefits

JACKSON — After the latest unemployment legislation was enacted Dec. 17, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) reports it began processing claims for those due emergency benefits.

By the morning of Dec. 20, 6,309 Mississippians were paid. Payments totaled $2 million. Deposits were made either to agency-issued debit cards or to bank accounts.

“Our staff worked Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to ensure we could make these payments as quickly as possible,” MDES executive director Les Range said.

The most recent legislation extended the country’s emergency unemployment benefits program an additional 13 months. This emergency extension will allow those eligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits until they have reached the maximum of up to 79 weeks allowed in Mississippi. That maximum includes up to 26 weeks of regular unemployment and up to 53 weeks of emergency benefits.

Including those affected by the Dec. 17 legislation, approximately 54,000 Mississippians are receiving unemployment benefits. That includes both regular and emergency benefits.

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