Rep. Mirra Asks Residents with Problems Obtaining Unemployment Benefits to Call Legislators

State Rep. Leonard Mirra. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Until the economy is back working, many people will be counting on unemployment benefits. State Rep. Leonard Mirra, a guest Tuesday on WHAV’s morning program “Win for Breakfast,” offered praise for the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, which expands coverage to people who didn’t previously qualify for benefits

“People like self-employed individuals, gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors. This is brand new. We never used to extend unemployment benefits to those individuals, so we had to create an entirely new platform to accommodate this new program, and now we’ve done it. So people are able to sign up,” he says.

Mirra says if people are having problems with signing up for the unemployment program, they should contact their state representative or senator to explain what is happening with their claim. Mirra says local lawmakers are providing assistance every day.

And, just as important, says Mirra, is the financial help the government is offering small businesses. “A lot of companies are telling us we can go a few weeks, but if we go a few months, we aren’t going to be able to stay in business, because they still have overhead costs, rent, loans, utilities, etc. that they have to contend with, so it is a very major concern.”

Mirra says it was critical the federal program was designed to help both individuals and small business owners.

“And that was one of the reasons why, I think, congress extended the unemployment benefits, so people could continue to pay their rent and mortgage, but we need to make sure that businesses are also able to do that. Because when this pandemic is over and we start to put people back to work at. If these companies start to close down, a lot of people will be out of work for a long time. That will be catastrophic,” he says.

Mirra represents the 2nd Essex House District which includes Boxford, precincts 2 and 3; Georgetown; Groveland; Haverhill, ward 4, precinct 3 and ward 7, precinct 3; Merrimac; Newbury; and West Newbury.

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