On Saturday President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that would grant $400 enhanced weekly unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans if their state picked up $100 of the tab. That would temporarily replace the weekly $600 enhanced unemployment that expired the week ending July 25.
But on Tuesday the White House publicly corrected their initial stance, and said states could get the $300 weekly federal funds without throwing in another $100. And with most states facing COVID-19 spurred financial constraints and budget shortfalls, they’re likely going to opt for the $300 option.
Ohio, for one, has already said it would opt for just the $300 per week federal payment, and not throw in an additional $100.
The $44 billion allocated by Trump for the enhanced unemployment benefit is estimated to fund the weekly benefit for five weeks, or through August 29, according to a report by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. But there still remains the possibility the memorandum will face a legal challenge.
And states aren’t sure when they’ll start paying out the funds. The Texas Workforce Commission said Tuesday they’re waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they’ll know when the first payment will be sent out.
Unlike the $600 enhanced unemployment benefit, this new benefit will go only to Americans who are currently receiving $100 or more per week in state unemployment benefits. The enhanced benefit gets paid on top of state benefits.
It remains possible the enhanced benefit could get increased or extended if Congress passes a broader stimulus package. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared on CNBC and told viewers that the White House is still open to a stimulus bill. And Democratic leaders said this week they’d still like to get a deal done.