ALBUQUERQUE – Thousands of residents in New Mexico who are collecting unemployment benefits have started to receive an extra $1,200 state stimulus in their payments, officials said.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions announced on Friday that the payments would be made to about 130,000 people who qualified for benefits in late November and early December or to people who exhausted their benefits between Sept. 12 and Nov. 5.
About 12,000 payments were distributed on Monday, department officials said. Another disbursement is scheduled for Dec. 22 and Dec. 28.
Department Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley said the payments would be distributed as a paper check, direct deposit or a Wells Fargo debit card.
McCamley said the debit card is not prepaid and would need to be activated by claimants for use. Any other form of payment should be considered suspicious, he said.
“A lot of folks out there that know how hurting and desperate people are right now, and they will use that to try to steal from you and steal from the government,” McCamley said.
The Worker Pandemic Benefit is part of the $330 million economic relief package passed Nov. 24 by the Legislature to help residents and small-business owners who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are unprecedented times, and my administration will continue to make every effort, every single day, to provide for New Mexicans,” Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “This additional funding is meaningful, and I’m grateful to the Legislature for their quick action in helping us get crucial aid out the door.”