"Unfortunately, delays in getting the federal CARES Act extension signed into law has pushed back the arrival of this guidance."

By: KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Borrasso

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State officials are warning of a gap in benefits for more than half a million people as they wait for guidance from the federal government.

On Sunday, an extension of the federal CARES Act was signed into law, expanding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs.

It was welcomed news for Jennifer Berrier, the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

“Labor & Industry is eager to begin making payments for these programs because we know that so many Pennsylvania families rely on that,” Berrier said.

But Berrier warned more than 509,000 workers may be waiting for “weeks” to get payments because of the delayed federal coronavirus relief package.

“This might mean there are a few weeks until we can issue payments to claimants again for these programs,” said Berrier. “Unfortunately, delays in getting the federal CARES Act extension signed into law has pushed back the arrival of this guidance.”

So while people wait, Berrier says to look for assistance elsewhere.

“A list of programs is available by clicking on COVID-19 on pa.gov. PA Compass and the United Way’s 211 program are also two great resources that I encourage Pennsylvanians to use if they need assistance with food or utilities to housing and clothing.”

She promised to get answers.

“I know there are many questions about the new act, and I assure you that Labor & Industry is working to get these questions answered by the federal Department of Labor,” Berrier said.

KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso talked to a Washington County woman off-camera who said she only has a couple of hundred dollars left in her bank account. She has been unemployed since March.

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