Unemployment benefits: why $400 could actually be only $300?
A $300 federally enhanced unemployment benefit will start going out as early as this week for millions of Americans who are struggling financially amid the pandemic.
As Congress failed to draft and approve a further stimulus relief package amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on 8 August that included an enhancement in unemployment benefits that could run for an additional five weeks.
The weekly $600 in unemployment benefits expired on 31 July and since then millions of Americans have been wondering what was going to happen next. President Trump had appeared to provide for an extra $400 a week in benefits (a third of that made available in the CARES Act), but in a statement released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) only $300 per week was authorized.
“FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor approved the states of Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico for the first FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico to provide those unemployed due to Covid-19 $300 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit.
"FEMA will work with Arizona Governor Ducey, Iowa Governor Reynolds, Louisiana Governor Edwards, and New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham as they implement state systems to make this funding available to the residents of their states,” read the statement.
How the money is distributed
According to the memorandum the federal government would cover $300 and the states have to cover the remaining $100. The problem is that many governors argued that they did not have enough funds to cover that money so for that reason only $300 a week will be available in unemployment benefits in those cases. This is half of what was being provided before.