Disaster unemployment benefits, arguably the primary means released from a disaster statement, have not been provided, despite Goldman Sachs’s estimate that unemployment claims have increased nationwide by more than 2 million in the past week, “about a nine-fold Virus year-on-year increase equals virus level. “The Department of Labor will release its balance sheet for the week through March 21 on Thursday.
The only aid that the Trump administration has released so far on the basis of the three disaster statements is “crisis advice”. Funds made available through a disaster declaration require separate approval and are released at the discretion of the executive.
States’ requests for access to all relief programs offered under the Disaster Declaration, including disaster unemployment benefits, “are still being reviewed,” a FEMA spokesman told POLITICO.
“We appreciate that the federal government has recognized the severity of the public health emergency,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a prepared statement. However, this statement did not “unlock many of the forms of federal aid that we asked for workers,” said the democratic governor, including the disaster unemployment funds.
“It is time for the federal government to provide disaster relief to New Yorkers,” agreed Jack Sterne, spokesman for New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in a prepared statement.
Hoping to remove bureaucratic obstacles to the release of disaster relief assistance, Inslee wrote to Trump yesterday, asking him to release the funds and either move faster to declare additional disaster areas for states, or “work with Congress to get those funds to provide”. Govs. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and J. B. Pritzker (D.-Ill.) Also signed the letter.