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States paying the $300 unemployment boost
The 20 states represent fewer than half of the 49 states that applied to the federal government for the aid.
Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. (Montana is kicking in an extra $100 a week, so workers will get $400.)
Around 1.7 million workers filed new applications for jobless benefits last week (between state unemployment insurance and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program). That figure has increased over the past two consecutive weeks, pointing to continued and historically elevated job loss six months into the crisis.
It’s been about a month and a half since unemployed workers received a $600 weekly supplement to benefits, which lapsed at the end of July. That subsidy had been part of the CARES Act enacted in late March, and Congress has been unable to reach a deal to replace it with another weekly enhancement.
In the absence of a federal subsidy, workers have been left with just their state-allotted benefits. States paid $306 a week in July, on average, according to Labor Department data.
Delay in Lost Wages Assistance
Workers receiving benefits in states that have started paying out Lost Wages Assistance won’t necessarily get their payment right away.
States can only disburse funds to workers who have self-certified they’re unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions from Covid-19.
Since that sort of certification was already a requirement to get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, some states appear to be doling out aid to PUA recipients more quickly than those getting traditional unemployment insurance.
Massachusetts, for example, started paying the $300 weekly subsidy to PUA recipients on Sept. 2. Those getting state unemployment insurance won’t see payments hit their bank accounts until around Sep. 15, according to the Department of Unemployment Assistance.
Other factors could delay payment for days or weeks, too. In Florida, workers who receive benefits via debit card instead of direct deposit will have a paper check mailed to them, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. Such workers should verify their mailing address record is correct, the agency said.
(This story has been updated to add that Michigan has also begun paying Lost Wages Assistance and that FEMA funding is available for up to six weeks.)