$300 federal boost hits NC unemployment checks

Posted September 3, 2020 10:57 a.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2020 1:02 p.m. EDT

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— The state unemployment office said it started issuing increased benefits checks Thursday, implementing a federal program that will briefly boost weekly payments by $300.

The money should come in a separate, lump sum, check of $900, according to the N.C. Division of Employment Security. Payments will go out in batches over the next several days, the division said.

The money comes from federal disaster funding through a program President Donald trump announced in early August. There may only be enough for three weeks, all of which have already passed, but the payments will be retroactive.

That's why the payments will total $900.

While it lasts, the program provides a $300-per-week supplement to unemployment benefits for people who qualify for at least $100 a week in state benefits and are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will determine additional funding availability on a weekly basis, and the state will pass that money on as long as it's available, DES said Thursday.

Without these benefits, North Carolina's unemployment program pays people roughly half their weekly salary. The North Carolina General Assembly is finalizing a change that should increase the state benefit by $50 a week.

A previous $600-a-week federal boost expired over the summer. It's possible Congress will implement a similar program in the future.

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