The state of Montana has begun paying the additional $600 Unemployment Insurance benefit established with the passage of the recent federal stimulus package, or CARES Act.

Spokesperson Lauren Lewis said the initial payments began going out on Monday.

“We began paying out the federal pandemic unemployment compensation benefits that was established with the passage of the federal stimulus package, or CARES Act,” said Lewis. “We issued over $20 million in those payments on Monday evening. Montanans using direct deposit see those funds within two to three days if not sooner and claimants who receive checks should expect to see their benefits within the week.”

Lewis provided even more numbers for those collecting unemployment payments.

“We issued a combined total of over $30 million in both FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) and regular UI benefits yesterday,” she said. “So, that’s a big deal for Montanans. We’re working as hard as we can to make sure that everyone receives their benefits as quickly as possible and this is a very big step in receiving the assistance provided by the CARES Act.”

Lewis has recommendations for those who have not yet taken advantage of the benefits provided by the state and the federal government.

“Something that I do want to emphasize is that we’re encouraging anyone who believes they may be eligible for these programs to file an unemployment insurance claim online at Montana Works dot gov.,” she said. “Remember, we’re working hard to provide these benefits to Montanans as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the expansion of UI benefits under the CARES Act, Governor Bullock has issued directives to waive the one-week waiting period to minimize the time Montanans await UI benefits, and waived the requirement that claimants search for a job during this time.