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$400 unemployment payments could be coming

Kentucky seeks more unemployment insurance assistance from federal government

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Beshear announced Wednesday that the state is applying for additional unemployment insurance assistance from the federal government. On Aug. 8, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum seeking to extend some additional benefits to Americans whose jobs have been harmed or eliminated by the global pandemic.

“Originally the federal government provided an additonal $600 for those on unemployment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” the governor said, noting that that benefit ended without being renewed by Congress.

The governor said that on Thursday the Labor Cabinet will file an application for the Lost Wages Assistance Program that is being operated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“This program will allow all Kentuckians receiving unemployment benefits for the weeks of July 26-Aug. 15 to receive an additional payment of $400 if they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Beshear said. “The $400 will apply to all programs: traditional UI, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the extended benefits programs.”

He said only seven states – Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Utah – had been approved for the program and all have chosen to fund the program solely with federal dollars, meaning recipients will receive $300.

“We have decided to provide an extra $100 using CARES Act money. Kentucky’s portion will be approximately $8 million per week, for a total of $24 million over the three-week initial grant period,” Beshear said. “We believe this will make us the first state to apply that plans to fund the full $400 promised in the president’s memorandum.”

He cautioned that while FEMA should approve the application in 48-72 hours, reconfiguring the computer systems to pay the added $400 is likely to take about two weeks. Therefore, benefits recipients should not expect the payments until sometime in early September.