SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Now that the $600 federal unemployment extension has ended, many Americans are wondering when they’ll get the $400 extension that was ordered by the president.
Millions of people have relied on the $600 federal unemployment contribution to survive, amid pandemic business closures. Without it, some say they are getting as little as $54 a week in state benefits.
When Congress could not come to an agreement to extend the $600, the president stepped in with a Presidential Memoranda, promising a $400-per-week federal extension.
But like other states, California could not afford it. Gov. Newsom pushed back on the president’s order Monday. The memorandum required states to contribute a quarter of that federal benefit, $100 per week of the total $400 payment.
Newsom showed a slide specifying that the White House proposal would cost the state at least $700 million per week. He added that cost could also threaten the state’s eligibility for other federal funding, “If the state of California was to absorb those costs, you’re looking at 2.8 billion dollars every week of state resources that we would have to find, programs we would otherwise have to cut, or revenue we would have to generate.
Gov. Newsom was one of many to raise concerns. In response, White House officials revised the order Tuesday. It now exempts states that already provide at least $100 a week in unemployment from having to contribute to the federal extension.
That means people in most states, like California, would likely get an extra $300 per week instead of the initially-proposed $400 in federal aid.
However, it’s still not clear when — or if — Californians will get any of that federal money.
On Wednesday, the governor said the state would get the $300 out to Californians as quickly as possible.
We had hoped to ask the governor for an update to his Wednesday statements, following the White House revisions, but CBS13 Investigates was not called on to ask a question at his Friday press conference.
On Friday, CBS13 did ask the Employment Development Department for an update on when Californians may get the $300 in federal aid.
EDD provided the following statement:
“The EDD is working closely with state and federal partners to assess the implementation of the Presidential Memoranda on lost wage assistance for eligible claimants. We will be providing details just as soon as they are available and we encourage our customers to watch our EDD website for updates.”
White House officials say checks should go out in a couple of weeks, but keep in mind, it took the EDD more than six weeks to program their computers for some federal aid last time around, so it’s not clear when – or if – people will see that money.
If they do, it will likely be $300 a week, not $400. However, it is possible that Congress could pass legislation that extends or alters the federal benefits before, or soon after, EDD actually implements the $300 extension from the Presidential Memoranda. Congress is now on recess until after Labor Day.
Follow our continuing coverage as CBS13 works to get answers to your Coronavirus Unemployment Questions:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include additional details, quotes, and links.