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Federal unemployment benefits partially extended in Arizona

Posted at 3:07 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 18:44:08-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizonans on unemployment won't lose as much of their benefits as they thought.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday that Arizona would soon be accepting funds to extend unemployment checks in the state by an additional $300 per week, in addition to the standard $240 provided by the state. Gov. Ducey says Arizona has applied for the additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and expects to be approved quickly.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act -- passed by Congress and signed into law in March -- provided additional funding for unemployment benefits to the states, which run government unemployment programs. The funding allowed states to increase weekly benefits by $600, but those benefits expired on July 31. Since then, Congress and the White House have been negotiating on another coronavirus relief package but haven't able to agree on its terms.

In the absence of Congressional action, President Donald Trump announced last week executive orders to extend unemployment benefits by $300 per week. With Gov. Ducey's announcement Friday, Arizona will become one of the first states in the country to take advantage of the new benefits.

Congressional Democrats have questioned the legality of President Trump's action, saying only Congress has the Constitutional authority to allocate funding.