Small businesses are getting some economic relief as a result of the passage of House Bill 1 at the legislature’s special session the last week in November. The package provides for $100 million in grants for small businesses in New Mexico. The grant program will be administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority.

The bill also provides for supplemental payments to the unemployed and other emergency food and housing relief through a reallocation of $194 million of federal CARES Act funding with a one-time supplemental unemployment compensation benefit to eligible claimants. Payments will be administered by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and received by claimants by mid-December.

The relief package, which went into effect with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature, provides:

• $15 million for emergency housing assistance and assistance for the homeless

• $5 million for emergency food bank services

• $5 million for direct assistance to low-income residents who did not receive an “economic impact payment” from the federal government

“New Mexicans need help, and they need help now,” Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley said. “This money will help over 100,000 New Mexicans with the basics they need to get through this time, and Governor Lujan Grisham’s whole team will work as hard as we know how to get it to people as fast as we can.”

Eligible individuals will receive $1,200 as a one-time New Mexico Worker Pandemic Benefit in addition to their regular weekly benefit amount. Payments will be made to the claimants’ preferred payment method, either direct deposit or state-issued debit card.

The legislation also delivers $10 million to the Department of Health to support COVID-19 contact tracing, testing and vaccine distribution efforts.

“I know this stimulus will mean so much to so many New Mexicans as we enter the holiday season,” Lujan Grisham said. “But our work isn’t done. The pandemic has never been more dangerous in our state, and the economic pain caused by the spread of the virus is felt in every corner of New Mexico. We must remain vigilant in our fight against the virus. We must continue to evaluate how we can get more assistance to more New Mexicans who need it in this time of crisis. I’m grateful to the Legislature, both chambers and both parties, for their work yesterday. New Mexico will always step up, even when the federal government won’t.”

The legislation was approved in both chambers of the Legislature on overwhelming bipartisan votes in the one-day session.

Meanwhile, Workforce Solutions says it continues to receive an unprecedented number of calls to the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center. Claimants are urged to utilize online services whenever possible. In the event a claimant needs to speak with a Customer Service Agent, they are asked to abide by the call-in schedule to assist in reducing phone line congestion.

Online services for UI benefits can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, apart from scheduled maintenance, at Individuals who call the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center (1-877-664- 6984) have a designated day to call based on the last number of their Social Security Number.

The guide for calling using the last number of SSN is as follows:

0-3 : Monday
4-6 : Tuesday
7-9 : Wednesday
Missed your day: Thursday and Friday

Filing an initial claim or completing a weekly certification later in the week will not delay payments or affect the date of an individual’s claim, since all claims are effective on the Sunday of the week in which they are filed. The UI Operations Center is available Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.