Extra Unemployment Benefits Authorized by Trump Running Dry

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(Bloomberg) — Funding is drying up for the supplemental weekly jobless benefit payments authorized by President Donald Trump at the start of August.

Funding for the Lost Wages Assistance program, which authorized an extra $300 a week from the federal government to most jobless benefit recipients, will not extend beyond the benefit week ending Sept. 5, according to statements by government officials from Montana, Texas and New Mexico. The states said they were informed Wednesday.

Trump signed an executive action Aug. 8 as a stopgap measure for jobless Americans after lawmakers failed to reach a deal before the added $600 a week in jobless benefits expired at the end of July.

The program authorizes eligible claimants to receive supplemental payments backdated to the week ended Aug. 1. With the latest announcement, that would mean six weeks worth of supplemental assistance.

Payouts Delayed

Logistical hurdles, though, including an approval process, led to a delay in Americans actually receiving the money. Some states have not yet started distributing the funds.

Trump authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for the payments. States also had the option to supplement the $300 federal grant with an extra $100.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the funding.

Applications for state unemployment benefits failed to decline as expected last week, a sign extensive job losses are persisting as the nation continues to struggle to control the coronavirus.

(Updates with weekly jobless claims.)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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