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New York unveils $300 unemployment benefits, applies for federal funds

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New York State budget director Robert Mujica has said on Friday that the state would apply for coronavirus unemployment fund the President made available following the requirement that states would bear a portion of the funds.

While disclosing this on Friday, August 21, 2020, Mujica said the state would apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program to benefit New Yorkers who are out of jobs. The state would provide $300 a week to the beneficiaries in additional to state benefits.
Speaking about the financial assistance, Mujica,

“As Governor Cuomo has said, politics does not impact policy — especially during a pandemic — and if New Yorkers are in need, this administration will do everything we can to support them.” 

President Trump had earlier said that another round of $400 in benefits would be made available to the unemployed. The fund was intended to replace the recently expired $600-a-week coronavirus relief fund.

The fund though came with a condition and that is states would have to be responsible for the quarter of the money as the federal government was to round up $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Governor Cuomo had initially disapproved of states contributing a quarter of the fund before his recent u-turn which he said was necessitated by the need of the New Yorkers.

However, in a new guidance issued this week, states could forgo contributing to the program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Although, with states willing to contribute to the program, they do have a few options available to them. They could allocate a 25% match from the CARES Act or other state funding.

States could also decide using state money that is usually set aside for employment benefits normally administered by the states. 

With only Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia agreeing to a $100 an addition, So far, about 13 states have been approved for the program. 

Having earlier disapproved of the plan on ground of logistics and legalities concerns, Governor Cuomo said the plan would add about $4 billion to the state’s deficit. 

The governor clearly stated that the state already had a $14 billion deficit and there has not being any way of getting it paid.

“You can not get water out of a stone. That is a fact and we have a $14 billion deficit, and we can’t pay for it.

“All the governors will tell you that if the states need to reinvent their unemployment, insurance, administration programs there will be weeks or months before anyone gets a check.”

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