A woman walks on South Willow Street in Manchester past shuttered stores in an empty strip mall on April 2. More than 51,000 Granite Staters on Monday night were sent their first $600 federal unemployment payments on Monday night.

More than 51,000 Granite Staters were sent their first $600 federal unemployment payments on Monday night, with the total exceeding $30 million.

Employment Security planned on Tuesday night to pay retroactive weeks of federal benefits worth tens of millions of dollars more, according to Employment Security Deputy Commissioner Richard Lavers.

“Tonight’s payment will catch up for the prior weeks for the $600,” Lavers said.

People whose unemployment dates to at least the week of April 4 should receive $1,800 in federal benefits this week.

About 124,000 residents have filed for unemployment in a four-week period since mid-March, when government restrictions to contain the negative health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered many businesses and idled workers.

Monday’s payments totaled more than $48 million and included normal unemployment payments for the week ending April 18 and the $600 payment for that week, Lavers said. About 120 other people also received a pay adjustment for a previous week.

People can earn up to $427 a week in unemployment benefits, plus the additional $600 federal amount.

With Tuesday’s payments, everyone eligible for a previous week’s $600 federal payment will have been sent one, except those who have issues with their eligibility, Lavers said.

“The department is aggressively going through those issues and expects to be completed with that by the end of this week,” he said.

The state recorded 94,000 residents who filed continued claims for the week ending April 18, Lavers said. Those are people who went into their Employment Security account and answered questions about their eligibility for benefits for the week of April 11.

That is fewer than the 124,000 residents who filed fresh jobless claims over a four-week period.

“You had individuals who filed initial claims that went back to work, were called back, found other employment,” Lavers said, or took other leave options rather than collect unemployment.

Londonderry resident Jarrod Brouillette, who was furloughed from his job at an eye surgeon’s office last month, said his first $600 payment was noted in his Employment Security account on Monday night. He said the money will be available in his bank account to use early Wednesday.

What’s Working, a series exploring solutions for New Hampshire’s workforce needs, is sponsored by the New Hampshire Solutions Journalism Lab at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and is funded by Eversource, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the New Hampshire College & University Council, Northeast Delta Dental and the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education.

Contact reporter Michael Cousineau at To read stories in the series, visit  

Saturday, May 30, 2020
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