Updated: August 21, 2020 07:43 PM
Created: August 19, 2020 03:48 PM
NEW YORK (WHEC) — Unemployed New Yorkers who were hoping to get the additional weekly benefits President Donald Trump promised a few weeks ago, are out of luck. The State of New York has to request the money to fund those payments from FEMA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, he will not be doing that.
UPDATE: Since this article was written, the governor has reversed his decision. Click here to read more.
Under the last stimulus package, the Federal Government was providing $600 weekly payments, on top of state benefits, to those who are out of work during the pandemic.
The payments ended at the end of July and when lawmakers in Washington couldn’t reach a deal to extend them, President Trump stepped in with an executive order that would provide $400 per week instead. The catch? States have to pay 25% ($100/week) of it.
“You cannot get water out of a stone, that is a fact and we have a $14 billion dollar deficit, and we can’t pay for it,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The estimated cost to New York State is $4.2 billion.
But FEMA has since clarified that it will allow states to count the existing unemployment payments they’re making toward the 25% share, meaning if a state signs up, unemployed workers could still get a $300 weekly payment.
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC): "Under that plan, there'd be no additional cost for New York in order to offer the unemployed the $300, will you apply for that FEMA money to fund those payments?"
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I don't know what the feds most recent decision is, I don't know that any of it is legal. I don’t believe the whole executive order mechanism is legal. So, I think this is all an artificial construction for political reasons."
Gov. Cuomo says even if he thought the President’s order was legal, it requires too much leg-work.
“State's abilities to re-design their administration system (to offer the payments) is a virtual impossibility in a short period of time,” he added.
He also made it clear, he simply doesn’t trust the federal agency running the program.
“FEMA, I'd rather do business with the old time bookie on the street corner than do business with FEMA,” the governor said.
So, unemployed New Yorkers shouldn’t expect the additional federal payments, at least not under the President’s executive order.
If there is a legislative agreement reached in Washington over the next few months to extend benefits, that could change so you’re urged to continue certifying for benefits every week you are out of work.
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