Updated: April 09, 2020 11:51 AM
Created: March 28, 2020 06:21 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions will begin expanding unemployment benefits to those who were not previously eligible to receive compensation.
Last week, federal lawmakers passed a coronavirus stimulus package that expanded unemployment benefits, referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The assistance will open eligibility for independent contractors, those who are self-employed, and gig economy workers.
An estimated 62,000 New Mexicans will now be eligible to file an unemployment claim. People who are already receiving benefits are also expected to receive an additional $600 a week for 13 weeks.
Officials with the department said these new changes won’t happen overnight.
“It will take us some time to make sure that number one, we have agreements in place with the federal Department of Labor and there's a common understanding about how these programs will be administered, and number two, that we have time to make sure that our systems have been modified to allow for these two things. In short, you can't just turn on a switch and make these things happen,” said Bill McCamley with the Department of Workforce Solutions.
In response to the anticipated surge in calls, the Department of Workforce Solutions is implementing a new call-in filing system. Officials with the department also reiterated that applying online still continues to be the most effective method for getting benefits.
Individuals who opt to call are being asked to call on a specific day that correspond with the last number of their Social Security:
Missed your day: Thursday and Friday
“It doesn't matter whether you register for unemployment on Monday or Friday, so people don't have to call in on Monday morning—that's one of the reasons we're putting the numbers into effect, to help our volume and help us help more people,” McCamley said.
The department anticipates benefits will become available in the coming weeks.
To apply for benefits online, click here or call 1-877-664-6984 on the designated days.
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