North Dakota Unemployment Insurance Fund Replenished by state CARES Act Funds
As part of the original CARES Act, States received funds to off-set costs associated with COVID-19. North Dakota will receive $1.25 billion. Governor Burgum and Senator Hoeven announced yesterday at the Press Conference that these funds can be used to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Fund that is being depleted due to the record number of unemployment insurance claims. Senator Hoeven asked the Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia for this flexibility during a Greater North Dakota Chamber webinar on April 17.
National unemployment claims are sitting at $26 million, with North Dakota over the 60,000 mark. In North Dakota, that’s approaching three years worth of claims. North Dakota Job Service has paid out $107 million in claims, with $144 million remaining in the fund. The extended unemployment benefits paid out to independent contractors, self-employed, and the additional $600 weekly, prescribed by the CARES Act, will be replaced by the federal government. General unemployment benefits are the responsibility of North Dakota’s Unemployment Insurance Fund.
This flexibility is critical since the alternative would be for businesses over-time to replenish this large draw, which would result in increased unemployment insurance premiums at a time when businesses are trying to rebound. Although this is an allowable use, it would still need approval from the legislature or emergency commission. The Greater North Dakota Chamber will continue to track this effort.