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Instructions to States on Accessing Disaster Relief Funds for COVID-19 Supplemental Unemployment

Matching federal funds with federal funds seems unprecedented.

As noted in a earlier blog posting, President Trump is making the Disaster Relief Fund available to states to help augment unemployment benefits ($400) to individuals. States are required to have a 25 percent match -- but can use their CARES Act funds to provide the match (we are normally used to states having to pony up their own dollars and not match with federal dollars). As noted by Jerry Quinn, who shared all of this information, "Gov. Newsom [Calif.] made CARES allocations to all cities. Only the first 1/6th installment has been forwarded. Unknown if the EO will cause a pullback of the allocations or delay the scheduled installments."

Here's the link to the federal text:  

Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019

I will note that there is this paragraph included in the language -- which is a political statement. Not sure if this is normal, but the word "unprecedented" has been used a lot in recent years.

"Because many of the relief programs created by the Congress have expired or will shortly expire, my Administration and the Republican leadership in the United States Senate have proposed multiple options to continue to provide needed relief to Americans. But Democratic Members of Congress have twice blocked temporary extensions of supplemental unemployment benefits. Political games that harm American lives are unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic, and therefore I am taking action to provide financial security to Americans."

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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