Millions of Americans out of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may soon see a boost to their unemployment benefits. After the CARES Act provision providing an enhanced $600 weekly benefit expired on July 31, President Donald Trump signed an executive order renewing the benefit at a reduced amount, but just how much can you expect to receive under the Lost Wages Assistance program?
Under the president's executive memorandum, $44 billion has been allocated from the Disaster Relief Fund to aid struggling Americans. These funds will be distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is working to approve states for the program. States that participate in the Lost Wages Assistance program will be provided with $300 a week in unemployment benefits. However, individual states can opt to bring that total up to $400 by providing $100 of their own funding.
With more than half of states already approved, many have been left to wonder how much they can expect to receive in enhanced unemployment benefits. Thankfully, Forbes compiled a breakdown of how much each state plans to pay in extra benefits. Keep scrolling to see how much unemployed workers in your state can expect to receive.
Of the 50 states, 34 of them have revealed that they will forego the option of providing the additional $100. That decision mostly boils down to the economic hardships these cash-strapped states are facing amid the pandemic. Those states are as follows:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
Among the states approved for the program, three have vowed to provide the additional $100, meaning that those currently on unemployment benefits can expect to receive an extra $400. Those states are listed below:
- West Virginia
Currently, five states have applied for the program and have been approved, though it remains unclear if they will simply be paying out the $300 provided under the program or if they will be providing the additional $100 to bring the total to $400. The following states remain undetermined:
- New York
Have Not Applied
At this time, a total of 11 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have not applied for the Lost Wages Assistance program. States have until Sept. 10 to submit an application. After that, approval times will vary, though FEMA has said that once approved, funding will be made available to the state within one business day. The states that have not yet applied include:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Will Not Apply
Of the 50 states, only a single state has opted not to participate in the program. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that "South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it" and explained that the state's "economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses." Forbes, however, previously reported that while South Dakota's unemployment rate was 7.2% in June, that was more than double the 3.3 percent rate in June 2019 and more than double the 3.4 percent rate in March 2020. It was, however, down from 9.4% in May.prevnext
When will benefits begin?
As states work to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program and FEMA likewise works to approve applications, perhaps the most pressing question is when states will begin sending out the extra unemployment benefits. This, of course, will vary by state, and no exact date has been assured by individual states. Approximate time frames, however, have been estimated.
Currently, Arizona is the only state to be actively paying the benefits, though Louisiana and Missouri are expected to begin paying them by the end of August. Of the remaining states that have applied for the program and been approved, Kentucky and New Hampshire are expected to begin including the enhanced benefit by early September. The majority of the remaining states are expected to make the funds available in mid or late September, though those in Alaskan should not expect to see the benefit until late October.prevnext
How long will the benefits last?
This is mostly an unknown. A memo from FEMA issued in mid-August noted that the benefit will last until the $44 billion runs out, the balance of the fund falls below $25 billion, or through Dec. 6, 2020, as was laid out in the memoranda the president signed. Most believe that the most likely outcome will be the benefits lasting until the funds run dry, which has been estimated to happen within just four or five weeks.prev