A key source of federal aid to the unemployed is running out — again.
In March, Congress created a program to add $600 a week to workers’ unemployment checks. When that program expired at the end of July, President Trump stepped in with a stopgap replacement: $300 a week in extra benefits, paid out of an existing emergency fund. (States had the option of adding $100 out of their own budgets; few chose to do so.)
But that program, Lost Wages Assistance, had enough money for only six weeks of payments. Because the program is retroactive to the week that ended Aug. 1, it lasted through the first week of September in most states.
Confusingly, many workers have yet to begin receiving payments — or are just starting to get them — because many states took weeks to get the program running. So workers in some states will receive a lump sum to cover retroactive benefits, and nothing more.
Congress could decide to appropriate more money for the lost wages program, or to revive the $600 supplement in some form. But with the Senate focused on a Supreme Court confirmation battle, there is little sign of imminent help.
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