41 States Approved for Trump’s Enhanced Unemployment Payments

September 1, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

The 41st state was approved this week for enhanced unemployment payments made possible by President Donald Trump’s August executive order.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is approving applications for the enhanced payments, announced Tuesday that North Dakota was accepted into the program.

Like most state leaders, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, opted for the lower payment of $300 per week.

Governors could decide to apply for the lower payment for the unemployed, which will be paid in full by the federal government. Another option would give the jobless $400 more a week, but that requires states to put up a quarter of the funds.

Only two states have so far opted for the higher option, Kentucky and Montana.

“I believe that extra $100 is critically important,” Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters last month.

West Virginia officials said they would choose the higher amount but later decided to go with the lower amount.

South Dakota is the only state to officially decline both options laid out by the Trump administration. “South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it,” Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said in a statement.

Epoch Times Photo
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, left, President Donald Trump, second from left, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, third from left, during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington on May 13, 2020. (Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images)

The other eight states that haven’t been approved are Delaware, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Officials in Delaware, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wisconsin said recently that they were applying for the program, as did Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat.

“Deciding whether or not it was in the state’s best interest to apply for these funds was not an easy decision,” Dan Ellzey, executive director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, said in a statement. “Taking the time to weigh the options in order to best mitigate the state’s risk and ensure it wouldn’t cost South Carolina taxpayers was the right thing for the governor and legislators to do.”

The Illinois Department of Economic Security submitted an application “despite serious concerns about the unfairness of this new federal unemployment program,” Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts told The Epoch Times via email that he is still reviewing Trump’s order.

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