About $523 million of federal unemployment benefits were paid out last week by the Georgia Department of Labor, even as Congress debates whether to extend benefits from the program that ended July 31.
Nearly $8.3 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation money has been paid out over the past 19 weeks, state officials said Thursday, Aug. 6.
The program provided an additional $600 weekly payment to those eligible for both state and federal jobless benefits. The federal CARES Act, a coronavirus relief law enacted in March, provided that benefit.
“If you were eligible for weekly benefits before July 31 that included the (federal) supplement of $600 and still haven't received those payments, you will receive the additional $600 when those payments are released,” the labor department has said.
If Congress “decides to extend or change the supplement, the GDOL will update its website and social platforms to reflect the new program.”
Spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright said, “We are preparing our systems to continue the $600, adjust the amount or stop the supplement completely.”
An extension of benefits is being considered in Congress as part of another stimulus funding bill that could top $1 trillion.
Up to 30 million Americans, their jobs lost or income slashed as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, are trying to get by solely on state unemployment benefits, which on average are less than $400 a week.
On Thursday, the government said nearly 1.2 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment last week. That is a decline from the previous week. Still, it was the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people sought jobless aid. Before the coronavirus, the number had never surpassed 700,000 in a single week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.