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FEMA: Another 3 weeks OK'd for $300 unemployment boost

Posted September 11, 2020 9:43 a.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2020 3:28 p.m. EDT

State budget

— There's enough money for a $300-a-week unemployment boost to run six weeks instead of three, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday.

Just when and how that money will go out to people who are collecting unemployment in North Carolina remains to be seen, but the state Division of Employment Security said Friday that was applying for the full six weeks.

President Donald Trump announced this "Lost Wages Assistance" program in early August as a $400-a-week boost, relying largely on funding from a federal disaster fund. That shifted to $300 a week because of issues surrounding a planned state match, and the program was guaranteed for only three weeks.

The plan was to re-evaluate and see how long the money would last. On Friday, FEMA said there's enough for six weeks.

Most of the initial three weeks' worth of payments has already gone out in lump sums in North Carolina, and the three weeks covered have passed. North Carolina has already gotten federal approval for a fourth week, and it's applying now for weeks five and six, Division of Employment Security spokeswoman Kerry McComber said Friday.

A FEMA spokesperson said in an email that every state that applies for the funding would get six weeks' worth.

Without the boost, North Carolina unemployment typically pays people about half of their salary, capped at $350 a week. State lawmakers, in legislation that passed last week, added an extra $50 a week to those checks.

The Division of Employment Security said Thursday that it's working on the backend logistics of getting that increase flowing, and that the money will also be paid retroactively as needed.

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