California will begin issuing $300 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits on September 7 now that the state’s application for $4.5 billion in aid from FEMA has been approved.
The weekly $300 payments should cover about 85% of the average worker’s wage.
Congress is still deadlocked on a long-term stimulus package, which includes supplemental unemployment benefits.
The California Employment Development Department announced last week that the state’s application for $4.5 billion in supplemental unemployment benefits has been approved.
That means the state will start issuing weekly $300 supplemental unemployment checks starting on September 7, with the initial benefit payments retroactive to August 1, when federal unemployment benefits lapsed.
Ernie Tedeschi, a former economist in the Obama administration, previously told Business Insider the $300 a week would provide about 85% wage replacement for the average worker.
The unemployment benefit will be available to anyone who is eligible for at least $100 a week in unemployment benefits and has proved they are unemployed or partially unemployed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“These benefits are critical for the basic security of families and communities and for our economy, which have been so devastated by the virus and its financial impacts,” California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
The benefits will be available for a minimum of three weeks, with any extensions dependent on the availability of funds.
A key difference is these funds are not being delivered as part of the ongoing congressional negotiations around a follow-up stimulus package but instead are being given out by Federal Emergency Management Agency for states that apply to their Lost Wages Assistance Program.
FEMA’s program has a total of $44 billion for all 50 states, but 35 states have been approved for the grant so far. Only six states have started rolling out the benefits, including Arizona and Texas. The remaining 29 states will likely start rolling out benefits in mid-September or later, according to The New York Times.
This comes after Congress missed another deadline to come up with a new federal unemployment plan and remain deadlocked.
House Democrats want to continue the weekly $600 unemployment supplement until 2021, while Republicans have said that amount is too high and countered with a $400-a-week supplement.
Read the original article on Business Insider