The coronavirus pandemic has been a disaster on many levels. Now, the federal agency in charge with disaster relief — FEMA — is being used to steer more funding to unemployed Americans all over the country. The takeaway is that people could be getting an extra $300 weekly in unemployment benefits very soon, if they haven’t begun receiving it already.
Congress allowed several coronavirus relief measures to expire in July, cutting off a lifeline for millions of Americans who had been receiving an extra $600 per week in unemployment payments. While some new relief is on the way, be warned that the latest payments are less generous than the original plan — the new benefits are capped at $300 per week from the federal government. What’s more, the special new payments aren’t available in every state. It’s also sometimes unclear when, exactly, the added unemployment payments will be sent out to people struggling to pay their bills.
Roughly a week after the $600 payments expired at the end of July, President Donald Trump issued an order authorizing FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to work with the states and pay up to $300 per week in extra unemployment benefits to eligible recipients. The extra $300 payments were approved for only three weeks, retroactive to the week beginning August 1, though officials have said the program could be extended.