This is a critical time for many people here in Western New York, as the $300 unemployment benefits were set to expire prior to a deal being reached in the senate. Now that has been accomplished there are some questions about the extension its self.

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According to WGRZ, The Department of Labor answered several questions regarding the extension. The COVID-19 relief bill includes the $300 a week payment that people were receiving for unemployment. One of the questions, that was asked is, are the payments retroactive?

According to WGRZ, A Department of Labor spokesperson said, per federal guidelines, these benefits can not be backdated and can only be provided starting the week ending January 3, 2021. Right now that money will be added to your benefits for the next 11 weeks.

Another question people want to know is, who qualifies for the benefit? The Department of Labor said if you're already receiving unemployment, you don't have to call, just be sure to keep certifying every week and you will automatically get the money. The Department of Labor encourages people not to call about the extra money, this will allow the phone lines to be clear for people with other issues to get through.

According to WGRZ, the Department of Labor is also updating its website, to provide more information regarding benefits. labor.ny.gov.

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