New unemployment claims rise in Louisiana; disaster assistance available in 10 parishes

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

More than 16,000 Louisiana residents filed new state unemployment claims last week, an increase of more than 3,000 from the week before, the Louisiana Workforce Commission said Thursday.

The initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Aug. 29 rose to 16,191, compared to the prior week’s total of 12,529. For a comparison, during the week ending Aug. 31, 2019, 1,881 initial claims were filed.

Continued claims were down slightly, falling to 249,610 last week compared to 250,720 the week before. There were 15,678 continued claims for the week ending Aug. 31, 2019.

Unemployment assistance specifically for residents who lost employment or self-employment due to Hurricane Laura now is available for residents of 10 parishes: Acadia, Grant, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, Vermilion and Winn. The deadline to apply for residents of these parishes is Oct. 2.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested federal assistance for 23 affected parishes, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved 16.

Disaster unemployment assistance is available to those who worked, were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment; can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income; do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state; cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster; or became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household.

Residents are encouraged to apply online at laworks.net and may also call 1-866-783-5567.

The program is separate from the $300 federal benefit for workers displaced by efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.