Unemployment benefit checks for the more than 500,000 left jobless in Massachusetts amid the coronavirus pandemic could soon be growing $400 fatter.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday signaled he intends to accept President Trump’s plan to boost unemployment benefits.
“If this program is there and it turns out to be the only thing that’s there, I don’t think Massachusetts should pass on that,” he said.
The president signed an executive order Aug. 8 to extend additional benefits of $300 or $400 per week — depending on which plan governors choose — to the unemployed after Congress failed to strike a deal to extend a federally funded $600 weekly benefit that expired in July.
Under Trump’s plan, states are required to ante up 25% of the added cost, or $100 per claimant in order to access the extra federal benefit dollars — a requirement that has confused cash-strapped states.
Baker said he would have to dip into emergency aid provided in the CARES Act to fund the unemployment extension. Alternatively, states could count the first $100 they pay in weekly benefits to meet the requirement — which would reduce the weekly boost to claimants from $400 to $300.