- FEMA recently approved a $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Individuals in about 41 states are eligible to take advantage of the program.
- While some states already started paying out the increase, most won’t begin until mid to late September.
It may be years before we can fully grasp the impact the coronavirus has had on the U.S. economy. What we know now, though, is that the coronavirus caused an estimated 100,000 businesses to close up shop for good. On top of that, the coronavirus left millions of Americans out of work. And while some folks may eventually return to their positions, there are countless jobs that are simply not coming back.
Not surprisingly, the coronavirus was responsible for the highest level of unemployment in U.S. history. Whereas the number of unemployed Americans before COVID-19 was somewhere in the 6 million range, that figure more than tripled and jumped up to around 20-21 million by May. Pew Research notes that the unemployment rate at the peak of the coronavirus could have reached as high as 16%. As a point of contrast, the unemployment rate back in February of 2020 was 3.8%.
With the economy reeling, President Trump a few months ago signed a $2 trillion stimulus package that included a $600 weekly bump in unemployment benefits. That weekly increase, however, ended at the end of July. As a result, there are still millions of Americans who can’t find work and are struggling to make ends meet.
With that said, FEMA not too long ago approved a $300 increase in unemployment benefits. The rub is that the increase is only available for individuals in states who apply for it. To date, more than 40 states have applied for and been approved for the increase. Some states, like South Dakota, have said that they have no plans to apply for the increase.
States that have been approved for the increase include the following:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington state, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
As to when individuals in the aforementioned states can expect to receive the increased payout, Forbes compiled a convenient list:
Alabama – payment already started
Alaska – late October
Arizona – payment already started
Arkansas – release date hasn’t been set yet
California – payment started on September 7
Colorado – mid-September
Connecticut – mid-September
Delaware – date hasn’t been set
Florida – payment starts on September 11
Georgia – mid-September
Hawaii – a bonus payment will be sent out, but no date has been set for the weekly $300 increase
Idaho – payment already started
Illinois – a bonus payment of $300 was sent out, but a date for weekly payouts hasn’t been set yet.
Indiana – mid to late September
Iowa – payment started in early September
Kansas – late September at the earliest
Kentucky – September
Louisiana – payments started in August
Maine – mid to late September
Maryland – late September
Massachusetts – payments already started
Michigan – payments already started
Minnesota – payments began in early September
Mississippi – mid to late September
Missouri – payment began in late August
Montana – payment began in August
New Hampshire – payment already started
New Jersey – October
New Mexico – mid-September
New York – date not set yet
North Carolina – payment already started
North Dakota – mid-September
Ohio – mid to late September
Oklahoma – mid to late September
Oregon – date not set yet
Pennsylvania – mid-September
Rhode Island – September 12
South Carolina – mid to late September
Tennessee – payment already started
Texas payment already started
Utah – mid-September
Vermont – mid-September
Virginia – September 30
Washington – late September
West Virginia – no date set yet
Wisconsin – November
Wyoming – no date set yet
The additional $300 in unemployment payouts (which is $400 in a handful of states) should last for a minimum of three weeks, after which FEMA will re-evaluate if states still need additional funding.