Many unemployed workers will get up to $1,800 in extra jobless aid through the Lost Wages Assistance program created last month by the Trump administration.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the government agency overseeing the relief, said in an interview last week that states had to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance funds, and up to six weeks of payments will be issued to eligible workers who are eligible.
“States should plan to make payments to eligible claimants for no more than six weeks from the week ending Aug. 1,” the spokeswoman said.
President Donald Trump last month took executive action to provide $300-per-week federal unemployment benefits after the $600-per-week benefit ran out on July 31. The initial program was implemented after the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was passed in Congress in March.
Some states are adding an extra $100 per week to their benefits program, which was also authorized under Trump’s executive order. It means that workers in Montana, West Virginia, and Kentucky could get up to $2,400 in lost wages.
FEMA limited the duration to six weeks worth of $300 benefits “based on state and [Department of Labor] projections and current state spending rates,” the spokesperson said.
Some states such as New York have alerted recipients of unemployment insurance to the program.
“We are emailing all New Yorkers who are receiving benefits to inform them of their status and, if needed, provide information about certifying for the Lost Wages Assistance program. All New Yorkers should keep an eye out for these messages and, if an additional certification is required, respond immediately,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a statement on Sept. 10, adding that about 2.4 million New Yorkers are qualified for the payments.
So far, 48 states, Guam, and the District of Columbia have received approval to distribute the payments from FEMA, according to the spokesperson.
“Regardless of where the states and territories are in their process to receive and distribute the FEMA funding, FEMA will fund six weeks in $300 supplemental unemployment benefits to every state and territory that has applied for this assistance by Sept. 10,” she said.
Trump took executive action as negotiations in Congress broke down on a broader stimulus package, which could entail $1,200 stimulus payments and checks, liability protections, funding for state and local governments, funding for testing, school funding, and more.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sept. 11 said she was optimistic about Congress passing a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus stimulus package before the November election.
“I’m optimistic. I do think that we should have an agreement,” Pelosi said in a CNN interview. “That’s what we all want.”