Alabama will apply for a program that would boost unemployment benefits for those already receiving such aid due to COVID-19.
Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Tuesday that the state will submit an application into the Lost Wages Assistance program, which would increase payments by $300. Those out of work, or working less, due to COVID-19 could get as much as $575 weekly if the state’s application is approved.
President Donald Trump created the program when he signed an executive order after Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, ended the U.S. Senate’s session without bringing up another round of coronavirus aid relief.
To be eligible for the additional $300 benefit, a person must receive at least $100 in state unemployment compensation and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19.
“This additional program provided by the Trump Administration provides an opportunity for those who are still struggling with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to receive a boost in their unemployment compensation,” Ivey said in a statement. “While Alabama continues to improve economically, we know that there are those who still need assistance. Alabama will work expeditiously to provide these needed funds as quickly as possible.”
“While Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to improve, and we continue to see declines in the number of people filing for unemployment compensation benefits, unemployment assistance can be a lifeline for those who have not yet returned to work or have had their hours cut significantly,” Washington said in a statement. “Alabama is pleased to be able to take part in this program and offer additional assistance to qualified recipients for as long as we are able.”
The additional support funding comes from FEMA’s disaster relief funds. Funding could end at any time, however, if FEMA funding is exhausted or the federal government enacts a new law, or by Dec. 27, whichever comes first, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Labor.