More than three weeks after President Trump signed an executive action partially restoring boosted unemployment aid, 41 states have signed up to pay out the $300-a-week federal portion of the sweetened aid.
President Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 8 partially restoring the just-lapsed $600-a-week jobless aid, which had been enacted by the CARES Act in March. Although he originally envisioned it to be $400 a week, that hinged on cash-poor states chipping in 25% of the money, or $100.
So far, Montana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Kansas are the only states that have committed to paying an additional $100 to laid-off workers on top of the $300 supplement. (Kansas has yet to apply for the aid, but said it intends to do so).
South Dakota has said it does not intend to apply for the money.
Only eight states -- Delaware, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Wisconsin and South Carolina -- have either not applied or not been approved for the money yet.
Just six states, Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, are paying laid-off workers the supplemental jobless aid.
The federal aid will last until the $44 billion that Trump allocated to the fund runs out, or through Dec. 6, 2020, according to the executive memo. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the money will last for about five weeks.
States applying for the federal grants will receive an "initial obligation of three weeks of needed funding," according to FEMA, which is distributing the money. FEMA will then make additional disbursements to states on a weekly basis "in order to ensure that funding remains available for the states who apply for the grant assistance," according to a memo.
The average state unemployment benefit is about $330 per week. With the federal supplement, Americans can expect to receive about $630 in weekly unemployment benefits.
Only people who are receiving at least $100 in unemployment assistance through regular state programs or other aid initiatives like a shared-work program are eligible for the boosted benefits, according to a White House memo. Benefits are calculated based in part on a worker's former income, which could mean that some of the country's lowest earners are excluded. At least 1 million people will not qualify for the benefit, according to one estimate.
The Labor Department's July jobs report released at the beginning of August showed that employers added 1.8 million jobs last month, sending the unemployment rate down to 10.2%. While it marked the third consecutive month of job growth in the millions, the economy has so far added back less than half -- about 42% -- of the 22 million jobs it lost during the pandemic.
There are roughly 10.6 million more out-of-work Americans than in February.