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Jobless workers could get an extra $300 a week in benefits. Pritzker says Illinois is applying for Trump’s benefits program.
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Jobless workers could get an extra $300 a week in benefits. Pritzker says Illinois is applying for Trump’s benefits program.

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Illinois is applying for the $300 weekly unemployment benefits supplement President Donald Trump ordered earlier this month to provide financial assistance to jobless workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Aug. 8, Trump authorized the federal supplement, which is being doled out to states by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as a temporary fix to replace the extra $600-a-week in federal benefits that expired last month. Congress remains at a standstill on negotiations for an additional coronavirus relief package, which could restore some, if not all, of those benefits.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week was asked to respond to Trump’s comment that Illinois is one of the states that has not applied for the benefits.

Pritzker said, “We have begun that process, indeed. It takes a lot of setup on an internal basis for us to move forward with that and so that’s what we’ve been doing.”

More than 30 states have received approval for the benefits program as of Tuesday, according to FEMA. The agency, which typically handles disaster relief, will provide up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments, and states will administer those funds.

States including Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana and New Mexico were among the first to receive funding. Arizona became the first state to start paying the benefits Aug. 17. No state that has applied for benefits has been rejected, the agency said.

It’s unclear when jobless workers will receive payments as states set up a new program while providing existing benefits. Earlier this month, Illinois extended state jobless benefits by 20 weeks.

Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for the governor, said in an email that the state is working through the process and will provide additional information once it becomes available.


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