President Trump has pledged to partially restore extra unemployment benefits at $400 a week — but many jobless Americans may not receive the full amount.
That's because an executive action that Trump signed on Saturday to extend the sweetened jobless benefits, which expired at the end of July, depends on states being able to fund 25%, or $100, of the aid.
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, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday. That could mean the aid is reduced to $300 a week for some unemployed Americans — half of what they were previously receiving.
"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."
Some governors of cash-poor states have warned this week their states may not be able to chip in the additional $100, meaning most eligible claimants will get an extra $300 in federal benefits on top of what they're already receiving from the state.
"We appreciate the White House's proposals to provide additional solutions to address economic challenges; however, we are concerned about the significant administrative burdens and costs this latest action would place on the states," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the chair and vice-chair of the National Governors Association, said in a statement Monday.
That was a sentiment echoed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, who said there's "No money sitting in the piggy bank" for the state to put forward an extra $100 in unemployment aid.
"Simply, it does not exist," he said.
Budget shortfalls in state and local governments are projected to total more than $500 billion in just one year, the Center on Policy and Budget Priorities reported.
The checks are expected to start going out in a couple of weeks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week and will be retroactive to Aug. 1.
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.
For the past 20 weeks, jobless claims have continuously topped 1 million; before the pandemic, the record high was 695,000 set in 1982.
The Labor Department's July jobs report released last Friday showed that employers added 1.8 million jobs in July, 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 percent -- of the 22 million jobs it lost during the pandemic.
There are roughly 10.6 million more out-of-work Americans than in February.