Unemployed Alaskans won’t see $300 federal relief for more than a month

Mike Dunleavy speaks at a podium wearing a blue and black jacket and a face covering below his chin
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on June 30, 2020 (Photo from the Office of the Governor)

The federal government has approved Alaska’s application to pay workers unemployed due to the pandemic an additional $300 per week. But it will take some time for Alaskans to see the money. 

The payments are expected to start  in eight weeks. 

A previous federal program to provide an additional $600 per week expired on July 25. 

State Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said eligible Alaskans can expect to receive payments dating back to July. She said most of the delay is due to the need to start a new program.

RELATED: After federal pandemic benefits expire, unemployed Alaskans wonder how they’ll survive on $500 a month

Ledbetter said the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the funding the state asked for. 

President Donald Trump issued an executive order to provide the additional funding after Congress did not agree to extend the previous program. The federal government is funding the full $300 amount. State governments were given the option to provide an additional $100 per week above what the federal government is funding. 

RELATED: Non-traditional employees in Alaska will miss out on extra $300 in federal benefits

Gov. Mike Dunleavy opted against state funding. Independent business owners like Uber drivers won’t receive the benefits, because states were required to contribute for these workers to receive the additional money. 

Dunleavy said he’s not in a position to provide advice on how Alaskans should handle their expenses while they wait for the money. 

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be difficult for people,” he said. “This whole thing has been difficult. We’re going to do all we can to get the money moving.”

Talks in Congress on providing more COVID-19 relief have stalled. 

Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.

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