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Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

On August 8, President Trump signed a series of executive orders and memorandums intended to provide financial relief to employees and those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the presidential actions called on regulators to allow a weekly supplemental unemployment benefit of up to $400, with $300 to be paid by the federal government and an option for states to add an additional $100. Under guidance released by the DOL, the new program will be available to people who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, but only if they already qualify for at least $100 a week in unemployment benefits.

A grant was approved through the federal Lost Wages Assistance program that will allow New Yorkers laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to collect an additional $300 in unemployment benefits. The state will not opt to add the additional $100 due to budget constraints that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

It is unclear when the money will be available as many states must reconfigure systems. But the program is retroactive to August 1. This means that workers should eventually receive payments for all of August. It is also unclear how long the additional funds will last, but it is expected the funds may run out in four to five weeks depending on how many states participate and how many employees are eligible for the extra benefit.

Employers should continue to monitor the state’s website for additional information.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.