Federal government approves Kentucky's application for additional unemployment aid

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Posted at 10:14 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 10:57:07-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The federal government has accepted the state's application to bring in additional money to help unemployed Kentuckians.

Governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky is the first state in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region 4 to be approved through the agency's Lost Wages Program to give $400 to unemployment insurance claimants.

"This program will allow about 80,000 Kentuckians receiving at least $100 a week unemployment benefits for the weeks of July 26-Aug. 15 to receive an additional payment of $400, if they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," Gov. Beshear said. "The $400 will apply to all programs: traditional UI, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the extended benefits programs."

On Aug. 8, President Trump made available up to $44 billion from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to Americans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Aug. 20, the state of Kentucky agreed to administer a lost wages program for its citizens who are unemployed due to COVID-19.

Most of the states approved for the program – including Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Utah – have chosen to fund the program solely with federal dollars, meaning recipients will receive $300.

"We have decided to provide an extra $100 using CARES Act money. Kentucky's portion will be approximately $8 million per week, for a total of $24 million over the three-week initial grant period," Gov. Beshear said.

While the application is approved, it will take about two weeks to reconfigure the computer systems to pay the $400. Therefore, benefits recipients should not expect the payments until sometime in early September.