Many Arkansans still waiting for PUA, Gov. Hutchinson says system updates coming


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — During his weekly COVID-19 press conference, Governor Asa Hutchinson gave an update about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

There are still people waiting to receive their money or even file a claim.

The department of Commerce tells us they learned on Jan. 8th that it learned it had to create a new system to follow The U.S. Department of Labor’s new requirements.

Now thousands of Arkansans are still waiting and said they aren’t able to pay for rent, food and are concerned what will happen as they continue to wait.

Governor Hutchinson reminds folks that this pandemic has also caused an economic crisis.

“Even though or unemployment numbers go down, still have tens of thousands of Arkansans that are in need of that,” Hutchinson said.

People who field for PUA extensions after they were extended in December are being told to wait until the new system is updated.

Tuesday Hutchinson has a message for Arkansans still waiting.

“We expect more resources to go there,” Hutchinson said. “So, we understand that there are some real compassionate needs that need to be met.”

Just last week we talked with two Arkansans who are still waiting.

“The Arkansans need help, I mean we’re struggling. A lot of us can’t get jobs,” Hot Springs resident, Lea Bates said.

“I can’t pay my bills so I’ve lost my home, I’ve lost my car,” Maumelle resident, Regina Lee said.

The department said it expects this to be done by the beginning or mid February.

In the meantime people filing claims will have to wait.

If you had a claim prior to December 26th, Hutchinson said you can continue to file weekly claims but no payment will be released until the system is upgraded.

If you filed after December 26th, Hutchinson said you can file but the system has to undergo the updates first to accolade those revisions and extensions.

“I know that’s a work in progress. We want to get it done as soon as possible,” Hutchinson said.

He also said the instructions were sent to all PUA claimants on Jan. 22nd via email or email. He hopes to have someone from the Department of Commerce in next weeks press conference.

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