Bad news: Unemployed workers are on their own again, as the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA) authorized by President Trump in August is out of funding. Here’s the latest update on the extra unemployment benefits for this week:
What’s going on now?
At least nine states have finished paying out the $300 extra unemployment benefit, and a handful of others will finish this week or next, leaving unemployed people with no additional government aid in sight.
Is this a problem?
Yes. Just under 30 million people are currently receiving state or federal unemployment benefits, but such benefits are often not enough to live on. Big problem.
I haven’t received my benefit yet. How much will I get?
If you are eligible for the LWA benefit, you’ll likely receive $1,500 to $1,800, which is five to six weeks of payments. A few states, including West Virginia, Montana, and Kentucky, kicked in an extra $100 more per week, so people in those states will receive up to $2,400. Many states are still bogged down by technology delays and sluggish fraud prevention processes.
When’s my money coming?
Do a Google News search of “$300 unemployment [your state]” or check with your state’s labor department for updates.
Why did funding run out?
The program was slapped together by a memorandum from President Trump in early August, reappropriating $44 billion of funding from FEMA, to be distributed by states. (That’s super weird!) Every state except South Dakota applied, and all were approved for up to six weeks of funding. Experts quickly noted that the $44 billion would only cover a few weeks of payments.
Is there any hope of other aid?
Kinda. As soon as next week, House Democrats will propose and vote on a $2.4 trillion aid package that includes both stimulus checks and additional unemployment insurance. As we’ve now learned, Congress controls the purse strings.
Isn’t this the umpteenth proposed aid package?
Yep. Democrats and Republicans agree that an aid package is necessary, but dysfunction reigns: House Democrats passed their $3.4 trillion HEROES package in May, which the Republican-led Senate ignored. The White House put forward a $1.3 trillion package last month, over which talks fell apart, and this month Republicans proposed a “skinny” $500 billion aid package, which Senate Democrats blocked. Election politics are further complicating these efforts.
Fingers crossed for additional aid, but don’t bet on it coming any time soon.