A sign in the window of a business on South Franklin Street in downtown Juneau on April 14, 2020. State officials say additional employments payments will be sent out soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

A sign in the window of a business on South Franklin Street in downtown Juneau on April 14, 2020. State officials say additional employments payments will be sent out soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Increased unemployment payments expected this month

FEMA grant gives Alaskans $300 boost

Additional unemployment insurance payments of $300 will be going out mid-October, Deputy Commissioner of Department of Labor and Workforce Development Cathy Muñoz said Tuesday. Payments are being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which announced the grant in August.

Muñoz couldn’t give an exact date when the payments will start, saying in an email a large number of programming changes are being implemented to allow for retroactive payments and “training and finalization of operation agreements with FEMA and (U.S. Department of Labor).”

Payments will be provided retroactively to all eligible filers from the date when the $600 federal payment ended, Muñoz said, referring to previous unemployment insurance that expired July 25.

[State says additional unemployment payments are coming soon]

“When FEMA approved Alaska’s participation, we anticipated at the time 6 to 8 weeks until implementation. We are on track with that date,” Muñoz said in an email.

FEMA announced Alaska would receive funding under the Lost Wages Assistance program August 24. In a news release at the time, DOLWD Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said the funding “keeps in place increased benefits without compromising the state budget.”

That release said Alaska would receive $19.9 million from FEMA, but a Sept. 18 release regarding the payments listed the amount as $62 million. In an email, Muñoz said the initial $19.9 million was the first projected installment of the state’s total allocation of $62 million.

Individuals will receive the additional $300 payment for each week filed if they were eligible to receive at least $100 or more of weekly state benefits and are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 disruption, the Sept. 18 release said.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

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