A lot of people are still waiting to find out whether they will get the extra $400 in unemployment benefits that President Donald Trump promised in an early August press conference. A $600 extra weekly benefit passed with bipartisan support when the COVID-19 pandemic first happened, but that expired. Here’s an update of where things are at right now.
There are different amounts circulating, and here’s the reason behind the difference. The $400 figure comes from an executive order that President Donald Trump signed in early August. Initially, people received an extra $600 a week due to COVID-19, but Republicans thought that was causing a disincentive to work, so they shaved it down. Although Trump touted the extra $400, it turned out there was a catch (not to mention questions about the legality of using an executive order to do this).
The issue is that only $300 of the $400 comes from the federal government. States were supposed to kick in the extra $100, but the federal government can’t force them to provide it. Thus, it depends on your state whether you will get $400 or $300.
In addition, Yahoo Money obtained a memo from the Department Labor, which advised states that they could count money they’re already paying in unemployment benefits as the extra $100. Or, if they want to, they can actually tack on another $100 for those who qualify.
Here’s what you need to know:
Extra Unemployment Checks Have Started Going Out in Other States But Not Others
Forbes has compiled an exhaustive list by state of which states have approved sending out extra unemployment benefits – and how much as and when they will go out, as of September 7. Find your state here.
Most of the states approved sending out $300, not $400. West Virginia, Montana, Kentucky, and Vermont did approve sending out $400 checks. In many states, the checks won’t start going out until mid or late September.
It’s technically called the FEMA Lost Wages Assistance Program.
Trump Told People They Would Get an Extra $400 in His Executive Order Press Conference
Here’s what Trump said in his press conference when he announced he was extending the extra unemployment benefits:
“I’m taking action to provide an additional or extra $400 a week and expanded benefits, $400. That’s generous but we want to take care of our people,” Trump said. He did note that the federal government’s contribution would be 75% of that total.
The president explained why he didn’t approve $600, saying, “This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.” He added, “There was a difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.” Republicans have stated for weeks that they think $600 gave Americans a disincentive to work.
The president also claimed that states could come up with the extra 25%.
“If they don’t they don’t. That’s going to be their problem. I don’t think their people will be too happy,” the president said. “They have the money. The states have the money. It’s sitting there,” he said. He added that he hopes Congress would come back to negotiate on more. He said he believed it would “go very rapidly through the courts.”