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Congressional delegation urges US Dept. of Labor to help states deliver unemployment checks quickly

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Manchestrer, N.H., April 16, 2020 | By John DiStaso

The state’s congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Department of Labor to help state employment security agencies, including in New Hampshire, deliver unemployment checks as quickly as possible.

New Hampshire employment security officials have called in the National Guard to help log claims, and the department promises to alleviate the backlog by the end of the week.

Last week, 23,936 claims were filed in New Hampshire – down from 39,202 the prior week.

Still, more than 100,000 Granite Staters have applied for unemployment benefits in the past several weeks, the delegation noted.

In a letter led by U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, the delegation asks U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia “to use every resource possible to ensure that state workforce agencies' needs are being met to enhance the ability to quickly administer the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program,” which is part of the CARES Act stimulus package passed last month.

“The historic nature of this economic crisis has overwhelmed state employment agencies who need additional staff and information technology enhancements to streamline the process for administering benefits,” Kuster, U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan wrote.

“It is imperative that your Department work in close coordination to ensure these needs are met so that unemployed Americans can receive financial relief.”