Nearly 400,000 unemployed people in Arizona became the first Americans to receive an extra $ 300 in weekly unemployment benefits this week following executive actions taken by President Donald Trump.
Eleven of the fourteen states that have been approved so far voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Arizona and Michigan are viewed as two of the six key battle ground states in this yearâs presidential election.
The Trump memorandum signed Aug. 8 at his New Jersey golf club calls for the distribution of an additional $ 300 weekly federal unemployment benefit on top of the state benefits that unemployed people typically receive. The source of that extra $ 300 is a $ 44 billion fund set aside for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
â Nearly 1 million Americans who receive less than $ 100 a week would be ineligible for the add on benefit â
There is a not insignificant caveat, though â that jobless Americans are only eligible for the $ 300 add-on if they already receive at least $ 100 a week in benefits from their state. Therefore, nearly 1 million Americans who receive less than $ 100 a week would be ineligible for the add-on benefit, Eliza Forsythe, a labor economist and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, calculated.
The payments arenât automatic. States must apply through FEMA for a grant âto administer the supplemental payments for lost wages.â
States will have to pay 25% of the cost of delivering the extra $ 300, and, as of Monday, only 18 states had said they would accept the FEMA grants, according to a survey by the Associated Press. Another 30 said they were still considering the offer or hadnât decided, the AP reported. (The FEMA grants do not cover the 25% of the cost that states must pay.)
Fourteen states, including Arizona, had been approved to access funds from FEMA to distribute the additional $ 300-a-week federal benefit as of Friday. Since Michigan, Kentucky and Texas were approved on Friday, five states are awaiting FEMAâs approval, Keith Turi, Assistant Administrator of Recovery at FEMA told reporters on Thursday.
So far no states who have applied have been rejected, Turi added.
At least one governor has said her state wonât apply for the FEMA grant because residents donât need the extra $ 300. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican and Trump ally, said she wonât be submitting an application. âMy administration is very grateful for the additional flexibility that this effort would have provided, but South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it,â she said in a statement. âSouth Dakotaâs economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses.â
Hereâs where things stand in states that have been approved by FEMA
As of Friday, nearly $ 201 million was distributed to unemployed Arizonans to make the extra $ 300 payments, Brett Bezio, a spokesman for Arizonaâs Department of Economic Security, told MarketWatch.
Approximately almost all 400,000 unemployment beneficiaries in the state have received the $ 300 supplemental unemployment benefit that was retroactively paid for the first week of August.
Colorado received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 16, but the stateâs Department of Labor and Employment has ânot yet determined what the benefit amount will be nor do we have any estimate on development timelines to reprogram our systems to pay these benefits,â Cher Haavind, a spokeswoman for the department, told MarketWatch.
Idaho received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 19.
âTo ensure individuals who need it most are receiving the new benefit, [Gov. Brad] Little directed the Idaho Department of Labor to identify ways to ensure the $ 300 per week in additional benefits is also provided to individuals who receive less than $ 100 per week in unemployment benefits,â an Aug. 19 statement reads. Itâs not clear if the state will have to pay out an additional $ 100 to every jobless resident or make up the difference so that each claimant receives at least $ 100 a week in benefits.
The department did not immediately respond to MarketWatchâs request for a comment.
Iowa received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 14, one day after submitting an application. The stateâs labor department, known as Iowa Workforce Development, declined to provide details on when jobless Iowans could expect to receive the add-on benefit.
Kentucky received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 21.
Kentucky will be contributing an additional $ 100 a week on top of the $ 300 federal benefit. That will boost unemployment benefits for every Kentuckian by $ 400 a week.
âWhile the application is approved, reconfiguring the computer systems to pay the $ 400 is likely to take about two weeks,â an statement put out by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, states. âTherefore, benefits recipients should not expect the payments until sometime in early September.â
Louisiana received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 14.
âAs of now, details are pending and we do not have a date as to when claimants can expect payment. We are expecting more clarity and information to become available in the coming days,â Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Dejoie said in a statement to MarketWatch.
Maryland received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 20.
âWhile it will take some time to work with the federal administration to implement this new program, all claimants will receive benefit payments retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility within the new program,â Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said in an Aug. 19 statement.
Unemployment beneficiaries will start receiving the add-on benefit in late September, the agency said.
Michigan received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 21.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency estimates that âabout 910,000 Michiganders would receive at least $ 300 per week in supplemental benefits,â according to an Aug. 18 statement.
The agency has not indicated when Michiganders can expect to receive the add-on benefit.
Missouri received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 16.
âWe are awaiting additional guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor while continuing to work as expeditiously as possibleâ to implement the $ 300 add-on benefit, Rose Delores, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, told MarketWatch. âWe will update our website as more information becomes available, including any additional eligibility requirements and timelines for payment.â
Montana received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 18.
Montana will be contributing an additional $ 100 a week on top of the $ 300 federal benefit. That will boost unemployment benefits for every Montanan by $ 400 a week.
In terms of timing, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has not indicated when unemployed Montanans will receive the increased benefits. âThe federal government is requiring states to program a new system, and DLI is already implementing the necessary changes to get this money out the door,â Acting DLI Commissioner Brenda Nordlund said in an Aug 17. statement.
New Mexico received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 15.
âIt is unclear at this time when funding will become available, or how much funding is available,â Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley said in an Aug. 13 statement. The state agency did not directly respond to MarketWatchâs request for a comment.
Oklahoma received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 18, one day after submitting an application.
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission told MarketWatch that Oklahomans could expect to receive the add-on benefit within four to five weeks and that the benefit will be âretroactive to Aug. 1, and all eligible claimants will receive back pay to that date once changes to the system have been put into production.â
âWorking with legacy technology to implement this benefit will hinder the agencyâs ability to make quick changes to the system, but our team will work as fast as possible given the constraints that exist dealing with 40-year-old technology,âOESC Interim Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt said in an Aug 17. statement.
Texas received FEMAâs approval on Aug. 21.
Texas received $ 1.4 billion in funding from FEMA to distribute the $ 300 benefit add-on, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday. âEligible claimants should expect to receive the additional benefits on their first payment request on or after August 23,â according to an Aug 20. statement.
Utah received FEMAâs approval on Aug 16.
âWe anticipate Utah will be ready to distribute within three to four weeks,â Nate McDonald, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, told MarketWatch. âReprogramming the system will be the biggest piece.â