N.H. Employment Security

Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

The N.H. Employment Security office at The Center at Colony Mill in Keene.

New Hampshire’s unemployment office has started to send out payments with an extra $600 per week, according to a state official.

The increase in benefits was enacted by the federal CARES Act, which passed March 27.

Another CARES Act change — allowing people with little to no recent earnings history to receive unemployment benefits — is not yet in place but should be soon, according to Richard Lavers, deputy commissioner of the N.H. Department of Employment Security.

Lavers said the first payments with the $600 increase went out Friday. All eligible recipients with direct deposit set up should receive their first increased payment by Wednesday, he said. It could take longer for those receiving paper checks.

The extra benefits will be retroactive to the week ending April 4, Lavers said. These are in addition to the weekly benefits paid by the state, which normally would max out at $427.

The CARES Act also made it so that people can qualify for unemployment benefits even if they have not met the minimum requirements for recent earnings. (Normally, a worker would have to have earned at least $1,400 in two of the past five quarters to qualify.)

However, Employment Security is still working on implementing this change. Lavers said he expects it to happen this week.

“We are working on getting those into payable status this week as well,” he wrote in an email Sunday.

As of Friday, the state had received more than 127,000 new jobless claims since March 17 and made more than 128,000 payments totaling more than $36 million in benefits, according to Lavers.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter