Gov Edwards Announces First COVID-19 Response Grant; Self-Employed Eligible for Unemployment

On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he approved the first grant from the Governor’s COIVD-19 Response Fund. The $100,000 grant will support the Three O’Clock Project, which is providing expanded meal distribution services after some of Louisiana’s public school systems closed their cafeterias.

“Feeding our state’s children is one of the many challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Edwards said. “Daily nutrition is essential to fighting child hunger, and this grant will ensure that Louisiana’s children will still receive meals during this challenging time in our state. We are grateful to have partners like the Three O’Clock Project who are working every day to get meals to the children who need it most.”

The Three O’Clock project is currently partnered with BREC to provide to-go meals at BREC parks throughout Baton Rouge. They have pledged to provide free meals through the summer, with the expectation that children will begin eating breakfast and lunch at their schools again in the fall.

Following the governor’s announcement, the New Orleans Office of Workforce Development again reminded residents that self-employed or 1099 individuals who have previously filed for unemployment insurance benefits and have been denied by the state will be automatically placed on pandemic unemployment insurance (UI) if they checked the box on the application stating “unemployed due to COVID-19.” Those who were denied state benefits and did NOT check the box, but were laid off or lost work due to COVID-19, should NOT file another claim. Instead, call 866.783.5567 to update your information to start receiving the federal benefit.

Anyone receiving UI benefits must call 866.783.5567 or email each Sunday to verify that they are not working if they wish to continue receiving their weekly benefits. If you are currently receiving state benefits, you will be automatically placed on the pandemic unemployment assistance list.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans specializing in politics and social justice issues. In 2019, she was given the title of “Most Fearless” by The Bayou Brief. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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