By Heather Sager, Jill Ripke, Lauren Kulpa, and Alex Pratt

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to make available additional unemployment payments for those who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Upon a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, states and territories may choose to provide eligible claimants up to an additional $400 per week in unemployment benefits through December 27, 2020. Seventy-five percent of these additional benefits are funded through FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. The remaining 25% of the benefits are funded through state unemployment insurance programs. The $400 lost wage assistance replaces the $600 unemployment supplement provided for in the CARES Act, which expired at the end of July. Many states have applied for the additional assistance, and at least one state (South Dakota) has declined the assistance.