Pandemic unemployment benefits extension may not be for everyone

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – When it comes to the continuation of unemployment payments due to the pandemic for people in Louisiana, not everyone getting benefits will receive the extra money. For those who do, it will be about half of what was originally received in the first round of stimulus.

President Trump recently signed an executive order to extend the unemployment benefit bonus to $400. $300 of it will come from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The states must chip in the remaining $100 for the full payment, based on FEMA rules of a 75% – 25% match for disaster relief funding.

“We’re trying to figure out what we can do to afford our workers here in louisiana the opportunity to participate in the enhanced benefit,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

Governor Edwards says there are two ideas for the state’s match. First, use the money already being paid to unemployed workers, but that means only $300 extra not $400. Second, possibly use some of the millions of dollars the state got in CARES Act money, that money has already been allocated but not all of it has been spent.

“There are a lot of workers unemployed, continue to be unemployed, through no fault of their own and we want to make available to them all of the assistance that we can.”

Not everyone receiving unemployment benefits in Louisiana will qualify for the extra $400 a week.
The Feds require an individual to get at least $100 in benefits per week to get the extra cash. There are approximately 200,000 people getting jobless payments right now under this threshold.

The state unemployment rate sits at approximately 10%. When you do the math, the state would have to come up with in the neighborhood of $20,000,000 every week to match the FEMA money for the total $400 unemployment benefit extension. If all state’s take the money, Governor Edwards says it would only last about 5 to 6 weeks.

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