Most States Haven’t Implemented Trump’s Fake Unemployment Program

Written by SK Ashby

Congressional Republicans refused to pass or even talk about an adequate stimulus package that included an extension of the pandemic unemployment program, but the White House wanted to make it appear that they were doing something so Trump ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to distribute disaster relief funds as if it were an unemployment program.

Now, as you know, Trump's program ran out of money nearly four weeks ago because less than $44 billion had already been appropriated by Congress and FEMA is legally obligated to use the bulk of funding for actual disaster relief.

Today, almost two months after Republicans allowed the pandemic unemployment program to expire, fewer than half of states have implemented Trump's fake program that already expired almost one month ago.

The latest $44 billion Lost Wages program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, rolled out haphazardly across the country, and workers have been left with drastically reduced state benefits wondering what kind of additional support they can expect, if any at all. [...]

Fewer than half of states have begun administering the Lost Wages supplement at all, leaving scores of jobless workers without federal aid for nearly two months. Aid has already ended in at least nine states, including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah.

Workers must earn at least $100 per week in jobless benefits in order to qualify for the Lost Wages supplement. Trump administration officials said this rule is intended to curb fraudulent claims, but critics say the provision leaves out an estimated 1 million of the lowest-paid and most financially vulnerable workers.

I was under the impression that because the program has already expired, and because the benefits are backdated to August 1st, anyone who actually receives benefits would receive all of them at once in one single check.

That has been in the case in some states where people received a one-time check for $1,800 back-dated to August, but CNBC reports that some states are planning to structure the benefits as a weekly benefit even though the program has already technically expired.

I won't deny that this temporary program probably helped some people in genuine need, but it has already been two months. Some states won't implement it until nearly the presidential election! Anyone who was screwed in August won't be un-screwed by a weekly drip in mid to late October.

This is one reason why jobless claims are increasing and Federal Reserve officials are calling for more stimulus.

Time flies and it would be easy to forget, but the fact is congressional Republicans have not done anything since spring and it's now fall. The last stimulus bill is closer to the start of the pandemic than it is to our current time.