President Trump signed an executive action on Saturday that would partially restore supplemental unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The measure authorizes an extra $400 in federal unemployment benefits – $100 of which will come from state budgets – and will replace the $600 payments that expired last month.
Here's what we know about how unemployment benefits will work under the executive action:
How much will my unemployment check be under Trump's executive action?
Trump's measure expands unemployment benefits by $400 per week, with states chipping in $100. However, some states have said they're unable to foot the bill, citing virus-induced budget shortfalls. That could mean the aid is reduced to $300 a week for some unemployed Americans — half of what they were previously receiving.
On Tuesday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News that states can either chip in the $100 share, or they can count the first $100 they already pay in standard, weekly benefits to meet that requirement.
"We modified slightly the mechanics of the deal," Kudlow told Fox News. "The way we're leaving it now, any state that put in $100 before for unemployment benefits — and every state did — they will then qualify for the extra $300."
The average state unemployment benefit is about $330 per week. With the federal supplement, Americans can expect to receive somewhere between $630 and $730 in weekly unemployment benefits on average.
When will I start to receive the extra unemployment money?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that he expects most states to start administering the extra benefit within a couple of weeks. The money will be retroactive to Aug. 1.
How long will the extra benefits last?
Trump allocated $44 billion to cover the additional $300 weekly benefit, using money from the Disaster Relief Fund, the government's primary source of funding.
The sweetened benefits will last until the money in the fund runs out, or until Dec. 6, 2020.
The federal government spent an average of $16.6 billion a week on the $600 benefit in the last four weeks of July, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Labor Department data. Reducing that benefit by half would be about $8.3 billion a week for a similar number of claimants. That would deplete the $44 billion in less than six weeks.
A Labor Department official confirmed the timeline to the Journal.
Who is eligible for the expanded aid?
Individuals who are receiving at least $100 in unemployment assistance through regular state programs or other aid programs like a shared-work program are eligible to receive the boosted benefits, according to the memo.
Who is not eligible?
Individuals who are not already receiving $100 in jobless won't be eligible for the extra benefit. Benefits are calculated based in part on a worker's former income, which could exclude low-earners.
How do I apply for unemployment insurance?
To apply for benefits, contact your state’s unemployment office. You can typically file your claim online, via phone or in person (although some offices are closed as a result of the virus).