18 states are paying out Trump's $300 unemployment benefits, but several say they're already ending their aid programs

  • Several states say federal funding for Trump's $300 unemployment benefits are being exhausted.
  • Texas, New Mexico, Iowa, and Montana say they are ending their Lost Wages Assistance programs after distributing six weeks of benefits.
  • FEMA said in a statement that every state that applies by September 10 will get enough funding to make $300 weekly benefit payments for six weeks.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

At least 18 states are paying out President Donald Trump's $300 weekly unemployment aid, but several say they are already ending their programs after distributing six weeks of benefits for jobless people.

State officials in the following four states said on Wednesday and Thursday that federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are running dry:

  • Texas
  • Montana
  • Iowa
  • New Mexico

Normal state benefits — which typically cover around 30% to 50% of a person's lost wages — will continue. 

A FEMA spokesperson told Business Insider the federal government has distributed $30 billion to 48 states, as well as Guam and the District of Columbia. 

"Regardless of where the states and territories are in their process to receive and distribute the FEMA funding, FEMA will fund six weeks in $300 supplemental unemployment benefits to every state and territory that has applied for this assistance by September 10," the spokesperson said.

The FEMA spokesperson said those payments would be dated back to August 1, meaning last week would mark the end of the program for most states.

Michele Evermore, an unemployment expert at the National Employment Law Project, said that the six-week benefit limit would likely ensure states can tap into the disaster relief funding to aid their unemployed residents.

"This should be comforting to people in states that have been slower to get the system set up," Evermore told Business Insider. "Lack of certainty is especially hard on unemployed folks these days."

But Evermore said the abrupt cutoff as states get their programs up and running could still heighten uncertainty among unemployed people during the pandemic.

"The farther down you are on the income scale, the more stability and planning you need in life," Evermore said. "So here, people will someday get a really big check and not another one. That's chaos in a really chaotic time that's not very helpful to people."

Last month, Trump signed an executive order to implement a federal unemployment aid program after the $600 benefit expired at the end of July. It authorized $44 billion in disaster relief aid from FEMA to be used to fund  unemployment benefits.

Evermore and Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, projected last month the aid would be enough for six weeks.

"It's too little, too short, and too late," Evermore said of the Lost Wages Assistance Program. "This was in no way a substitute for an actual extension."

Nearly 29 million people across the US are collecting unemployment benefits, according to the Labor Department.

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