Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) approved Maryland’s request to provide Marylanders an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits.
Millions of Americans are out of work because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
President Donald J. Trump (R) signed a memo earlier this month authorizing FEMA to provide additional unemployment benefits to the states.
Congress passed a $2 trillion relief package in late March that became known as The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Several members of Congress believed the coronavirus pandemic would be under control by the summer and that Americans would be back to work.
The economic aid expired on August 1.
Congress and the White House haven’t agreed on a second coronavirus aide package.
That’s why President Trump signed an executive order authorizing FEMA to provide unemployment benefits from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund.
The additional funds are part of the federal government’s Lost Wages Assistance plan.
Hogan said Thursday that the Maryland Department of Labor will now work with the Trump administration to implement this program and will begin distributing the additional benefits by late September.
“We sincerely appreciate FEMA’s quick approval of our application so that we can provide additional relief to struggling Marylanders,” said Hogan.
“Our Labor team will now work with the federal administration to implement this new program so that we can distribute these benefits. It is important to recognize that this is only a stopgap, and we continue to urge Congress to come together and approve federal aid for the states to help support our economic recovery.”
From March 9 to August 15, the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance paid a total of $5,993,589,284 in regular and CARES Act unemployment insurance benefits to claimants, according to Hogan officials.
The state’s application secures a minimum of $431 million in additional benefits for unemployed Marylanders.
To qualify for the additional $300 per week, claimants must be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100, and they must self-certify that they are unemployed – or partially unemployed – due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Claimants will not have to file a new application to receive benefits.
Congress is currently on recess, though conversations about a separate coronavirus relief package continue among Republican and Democratic leaders.