As part of a federal lost-wages assistance program, 45 states will provide an extra $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits for at least three weeks, and five states will provide a total of $400 in weekly benefits to those who qualify.
As of Sept. 2, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — which is administering this program after President Donald Trump’s executive order on Aug. 8 directed the agency to provide $44 billion from their Disaster Relief Fund — has approved the following 45 states for the extra $300 benefit: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
States have until Sept. 10 to apply for the additional benefit. The five remaining states that are not yet approved are Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey and South Dakota. South Dakota has opted out of the application, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is still considering the costs to the state in participating in the program. Kansas, Nevada and New Jersey are all currently in the application process.
Unemployed Americans must already receive at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits from their state in order to qualify for the $300 add-on. In the week ending Aug. 22, just over 1 million people had filed new claims for unemployment benefits.
For those who do qualify, the $300 weekly benefit is retroactive to Aug. 1, which is when the $600 weekly supplement from the CARES Act expired. Some states have already begun sending out payments, and others plan to do so within the coming weeks. Although the program is approved through Dec. 27, it’s expected that the funds will be exhausted far sooner — the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that the fund has just five weeks of supplemental benefits.
The states that will provide an additional $100 per week in benefits for a weekly total of $400 include Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Vermont and West Virginia.
Check with your state’s unemployment office to learn more about whether you’re eligible for the benefit.