Kentucky sending $400 checks to thousands barred from Trump unemployment program

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  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday to issue one-time relief payments to workers receiving unemployment benefits.
  • About 25,000 people will get $400. They include people ineligible for earlier funds from a Trump administration Lost Wages Assistance program.
  • Roughly 16,500 people will get $1,000. They applied for unemployment months ago and haven’t been paid yet.

Kentucky is sending $400 checks to thousands of unemployed workers in the state who didn’t qualify for an earlier round of relief authorized by President Donald Trump.

Other workers whose jobless benefits have been significantly delayed will get $1,000 one-time payments.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday directing $48 million to these groups of workers, who’ve slipped through cracks in the state and federal unemployment system.

“Federal requirements for programs administered by the Office of Unemployment Insurance have prevented Kentucky from making payments to some qualifying individuals, through no fault of those applicants,” according to the executive order.

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The funds come as $900 billion in fresh pandemic relief, including stimulus checks, extra unemployment aid and rent assistance, starts to reach needy Americans. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to soon unveil a proposal for additional money, including a call for $2,000 stimulus checks.

Other states and cities — like Alaska, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico and New York City — disbursed relief to residents toward the end of 2020. Like many of those jurisdictions, Kentucky is backing the effort with a federal coronavirus relief fund.

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Kentucky will issue one-time $400 payments to roughly 25,000 people, the governor announced Tuesday. Many were disqualified from getting a Lost Wages Assistance subsidy because they made too little, Beshear said.

The Trump administration created that Lost Wages supplement — which raised jobless benefits by $300 or $400 a week, depending on the state — in early August. It lasted up to six weeks.

But it wasn’t available to workers who received less than $100 a week in jobless benefits. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were disqualified. They were largely low-wage earners, part-timers and seasonal workers, individuals who were arguably most in need of the money.

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