unemployment people in line 7-31-20

People waited outside the Kentucky Labor Cabinet office in Frankfort after their in-person unemployment insurance appointments were abruptly canceled on Friday, July 31, 2020. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's application to take part in President Trump's short-term unemployment supplement has been approved, meaning about 80,000 laid-off workers will get an additional $400 per week for at least three weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear's office said Friday.

Beshear said Wednesday that Kentucky would participate in the program and become the first state to provide the full $400 supplement to its claimants.

Under the deal, the Federal Emergency Management Agency funds $300 per week for unemployed workers using repurposed disaster assistance money, while states have the option to add $100 using their share of federal CARES Act funds or other state money.

Kentucky will use about $24 million of its $1.6 billion CARES Act pot to bring the extra benefit to $400 for the program's initial three-week period.

The money will be paid in September based on a retroactive claims to the week ended Aug. 1, when the $600 per week federal unemployment supplement from the CARES Act ran out.

About 7,000 Kentuckians who receive unemployment checks of less than $100 per week will get nothing from the program.

Trump's Aug. 8 presidential directive makes the money available only to people whose "weekly benefit amount" is at least $100. In Kentucky, weekly benefits can be as little as $39.

“COVID-19 has caused the loss of millions of jobs across the nation, and unfortunately Kentucky is no exception,” Beshear said in a news release announcing the approval. “I am committed to fighting for every dollar to help our people survive this global pandemic and our workforce return to full strength.”

Beshear on Aug. 10 called the Trump program "unworkable."

But a couple of days later, federal officials said the Trump administration would not require states to provide the $100 match after all, and that states could use their CARES Act money if they chose to do so. 

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.