Some states begin paying $300 unemployment enhance whereas others lag

Brian van der Brug | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

A handful of states have begun issuing a $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits or signaled workers will get the payments starting this week. Others expect the aid to kick in later this month.

Workers in Arizona, California, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee will receive the first batch of enhanced payments this week, according to state labor agencies. California and New York are the No. 1 and 2 states, respectively, relative to the number of workers receiving jobless benefits.

Connecticut and Washington state aim to disburse the supplement beginning in mid-January, officials said.

Arizona, California, New York, Rhode Island

Workers in California were paid the $300 weekly supplement as early as Sunday, according to the state Employment Development Department.

However, the first tranche is only available to the 1.3 million Californians who are receiving regular state benefits or aid through the Federal-State Extended Duration program, which kicks in during periods of high unemployment, the agency said.

Benefits will be delayed for others — almost 3 million people — until “revised programming is in place” for the extended federal programs, the agency said.

Those federal programs include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

All workers in New York and Rhode Island, including those collecting PUA and PEUC benefits, will begin receiving the $300 boost along with this week’s payments, according to state labor officials.

Rhode Island recipients will get the funds as early as Monday, according to Margaux Fontaine, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Labor and Training.

Arizona residents were able to file a weekly claim for the additional $300 beginning Sunday, according to Tasya Peterson, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Economic Security. The payments started flowing this week along with workers’ regular benefits, she said.

Tennessee began disbursing the funds on Monday, according to Chris Cannon, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Connecticut, Washington

Connecticut labor officials expect to start paying the $300 enhancement by mid-January, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Gov. Ned Lamont and Kurt Westby, the state’s labor commissioner.

Washington state expects to issue two weeks’ worth of payments on Jan. 15, according to information on the state’s unemployment website. It typically takes a few days for banks to process the payments after being issued, the agency said.

The New Jersey Department of Labor has reprogrammed its systems to administer the $300 benefit and will soon begin distribution, once user testing is successfully completed, according to spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi.

The $300 weekly supplement follows two others enacted during the coronavirus pandemic: a $600-a-week stipend provided by the CARES Act through July, and a subsequent $300 weekly Lost Wages Assistance payment offered for up to six weeks through early September.

While some states were able to disburse that aid quickly, many took several weeks — even a few months — to do so.

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