Alabama unemployment checks will soon increase as state sees uptick in July unemployment rate
Montgomery, Ala. – Alabama’s plan to increase unemployment benefit checks by $300 each week has been approved by FEMA, the Alabama Department of Labor announced over the weekend. The payments are expected to begin within the next two weeks, possibly sooner.
President Trump set the increase by way of executive order, authorizing those seeking unemployment to receive $400 per week in extra benefits on the condition that states provide $100 of the cost. The executive order extended the benefits by using $44 billion in federal funding from the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. States are permitted to include money they are currently paying to claimants towards their $100 contribution, meaning the federal government would then only provide $300 in additional benefits. To be eligible, an individual must receive at least $100 a week in state unemployment compensation from one of the six following programs:
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Extended Benefits (EB)
Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
It's possible that the benefits will only be paid for a few weeks. As more states opt-in to the program, FEMA officials caution they will take steps to ensure enough money is left in the fund for all states seeking the benefit.
In June, Alabama’s unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent. In July, the Department of Labor announced it had ticked up to 7.9 percent. The increase can partially be attributed to job seekers re-entering the market, but the unemployment rate is almost three times as high as it was in February prior to the onset of the pandemic. Prichard, Selma, Bessemer and Mobile are among Alabama's major cities with the highest unemployment rates. Alabama’s 7.9 percent unemployment rate is markedly better than the national average, which is 10.2 percent.