In a terse statement Friday night, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that it has approved California’s request for a grant to provide a temporary boost to the state’s unemployment funds.
While the total amount of the grant was not stated in the announcement, the agency said the grant would allow the state to add an additional $300 per week to whatever benefits it is already paying to unemployed residents. FEMA did not say when the money would be available but said only that it will “work with California Governor Gavin Newsom” to figure out how to distribute the money.
While the total number of unemployed fluctuates, millions have lost their jobs in California since the beginning of the shutdowns mandated by the coronavirus, particularly as the state has reversed efforts to broadly reopen due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. But in June, it was estimated that the unemployment rate was at least 16.3%.
See the agency’s full statement below:
WASHINGTON–FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor approved California for a FEMA grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow California to provide $300 per week — on top of their regular unemployment benefit — to those unemployed due to COVID-19. FEMA will work with California Governor Gavin Newsom to implement a system to make this funding available to California residents.
On Aug. 8, 2020, President Trump made available up to $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to Americans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the state of California agreed to administer a lost wages program for its citizens who are unemployed due to COVID-19.
FEMA looks forward to working with the governors of additional states who agree to administer a lost wages program to bring financial relief to unemployed Americans.