SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As Congress passed a COVID-19 relief package Monday, the CARES Act will be extended to unemployment benefits in Utah. To provide a detailed explanation of what that means for Utahns, Utah’s unemployment insurance division director, Kevin Burt, provided an update on what the new relief package means.

Burt explained that with the new relief package expected to be passed that it will impact two primary programs in Utah. First is the pandemic unemployment assistance. This was set to expire on Dec. 26 but with the new relief package, it will be extended to March 13. In addition to the extension of the deadline, there has also been an extension of the number of weeks an individual can receive the unemployment benefits if they are eligible. The state has added an additional 11 weeks of assistance for those eligible.

The second program that the relief package will effect in Utah is the pandemic extended unemployment benefit. This program was also originally set to expire on Dec. 26 but will be extended to March 13. As part of this extension, individuals can now receive an additional 11 weeks of benefits.

Burt reminds Utahns that although Congress has passed the relief package, it still has to go through President Trump’s desk for him to sign, which may take several days.

Burt says that the state’s top priority at this time is to take care of the 10,000 Utahns on pandemic unemployment assistance or extended benefits that are set to expire on Dec. 26. Burt says that the state is working hard to make the extension of the programs go as smoothly as possible so when the programs do expire, Utahns will be able to file for unemployment again seamlessly and will be able to continue receiving assistance and won’t be ‘kicked out of the program’.

Click here to download the ABC4 Utah News app for the first alerts on your phone. Sign up for the ABC4 Utah breaking news and daily newsletters.