JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state labor department plans to begin distributing an additional $300 a week in jobless benefits for a period dating back to the summer after reported technical challenges complicated the program’s rollout.
The department announced it would begin distributing the funds Friday. The benefit applies to those who were eligible for at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits during the period spanning from the week ending Aug. 1 to the week ending Sept. 5.
Patsy Westcott, director of the department’s Division of Employment and Training Services, said an estimated 35,000 Alaskans are expected to benefit.
An executive order by President Donald Trump allowed for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for states to provide the extra $300 a week benefit after a $600 a week benefit approved by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic expired over the summer.
The state labor department said it received approval for the funds in early September but faced technical challenges in getting the program operational.
Deputy Commissioner Cathy Munoz has said the department could not use its unemployment insurance accounting and reporting structures to pay the FEMA money and had to build a system for the aid.