President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning that Louisiana's application for unemployment assistance under an executive order he signed earlier this month was approved, meaning nearly half a million residents will hopefully see an additional $300 in their unemployment checks.
Gov. John Bel Edwards submitted the application sometime after receiving advice from the White House Thursday. His office estimates that 454,000 eligible Louisianans will receive about $300 in additional assistance every week through the federal government.
In a statement Thursday, Edwards said there are still unclear details, but the money will come from the federal government through a cost-share program.
"While all of the details are not yet available, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to provide an additional $1,200 a month to qualified people on unemployment,” Edwards said. “This is a temporary solution, as funds are limited, and I am still calling on Congress to act. However, as soon as these funds are available to us, we will move quickly to pay them out.”
Edwards' office gave a brief statement Saturday saying they have not received final guidance from the Trump administration about how the program will operate.
"We are aware of and appreciate the President’s approval of Louisiana’s participation in the UI program and are looking forward to receiving the final guidance on the program and who is eligible for these payments," said Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for the governor's office, in an email.
The executive order, signed on Aug. 8, effectively draws $300 per applicant per week from the Department of Homeland Security's Disaster Relief Fund.
Another $100 is supposed to come from the states themselves, out of the Coronavirus Relief Fund distributed to states to cover COVID-19 costs not previously accounted for in state budgets.
It's unclear if Louisiana will have to pay an additional $100 into each unemployment check, or if the state's existing unemployment infrastructure qualifies it for the cost-share program already.
Trump’s executive action extends the benefits until the federal fund is drawn down to $25 billion (to keep enough in it for natural disasters such as hurricanes) or until December 6, 2020, whichever comes first.
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