$300 federal unemployment benefits available to Arizonans this week
PHOENIX — The state’s request for federal help with unemployment benefits has been approved, the Arizona Department of Economic Security confirmed to KTAR News 92.3 on Saturday.
The $300 in Lost Wages Assistance funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency under an executive order signed recently by President Donald Trump will begin this week.
The extra payments will bring Arizona’s maximum unemployment benefit to $540 weekly. It would be made retroactively for each week after July 26 where previous federal payments may have lapsed, according to a press release from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday.
Ducey, who met with Trump on Wednesday, tweeted his thanks for the federal support.
Thank you @POTUS and @fema for approving Arizona’s extension of unemployment benefits! This will help hundreds of thousands of Arizona families and individuals. We’re grateful for this action and the quick response!
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) August 15, 2020
The new extension is half the previous $600 federal benefit that was part of CARES Act and was provided from March 29 to July 25.
That benefit expired without Congress reaching a deal to extend it, and negotiations have been fruitless.
The FEMA Disaster Relief Fund benefit will be available until Dec. 6 or when the money set aside is gone, the release said.
Trump said payments would be boosted by $400 when he signed the order, with states responsible for a 25% match. But Arizona is among a large number of states that have opted out of match because of budget concerns.
More than 370,000 Arizonans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, up from about 17,500 before the pandemic hit in March and Ducey began ordering businesses to close to contain the spread of the virus.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gabriel Gamiño and the Associated Press contributed to this report.