After a month from the initial announcement that a new weekly $300 unemployment benefit distribution would take place, several states across the nation have begun distributing the payments to their residents.
Duration of the $300 unemployment benefit
The question most Americans have now is until when the additional funding will last. While there is currently no clear answer, the duration of the new state benefits depends on several factors and may be different for every state.
According to CNBC, states are required to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) and wait for approval to distribute the payments to residents.
United States President Donald Trump created the program as an executive order and signed it on August 8. The new weekly $300 unemployment benefit will be received on top of any other state benefits an individual is already receiving.
States that get approved for the LWA will receive initial funding that covers eligible workers for the first three weeks of unemployment starting from August 1. The amount totals to $900 of unemployment benefit from the federal government.
Currently, 47 states across the country have been approved to send out the unemployment benefits. Two states, Nebraska and Nevada, have already sent their applications but have not yet been approved.
South Dakota, on the other hand, will not apply for the funding after Governor Kristi Noem said the state has recovered 80 percent of its jobs and does not need the financial support.
After the initial three-week funding, states must re-apply for the weekly unemployment benefit, which will be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The requirement for a second application and approval means that there is no guarantee that all states which have been approved for the first tranche will be able to receive the weekly funding. Another unknown factor is if FEMA will give all states the same number of weeks of payment.
The answer is something that most unemployed American workers will be affected by as millions of citizens have not received federal jobless benefits after the previous weekly $600 unemployment benefit expired.
Could end at any time
The new weekly $300 unemployment benefits program has been approved to last until December 27. The United States government has $44 billion to supply the payments across all states that get approved to distribute the benefits, as reported by The Sun.
However, there is no guarantee that the funding will last until the end of the year, especially after the sharp increase of unemployment applications in recent weeks.
Around 30 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, and about 1.4 million have filed for unemployment in July due to the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts said that evidence suggests some states will receive more funding than others. Only 33 of the approved areas have been given at least one additional week of the LWA as of Tuesday, said a spokeswoman for FEMA. However, the official declined to answer when asked which specific states belong to the listed number.
As of Wednesday, $31 billion of the initial $44 billion funding has already been obligated to states, said FEMA. Federal officials estimate that the entire program would only last for about five weeks of unemployment benefits.
However, the program could also end early if the value of the disaster-relief fund dips below a specific amount or if Congress enacts a new weekly unemployment supplement. The mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, said in a statement that the unemployment benefit could end at any given time.