- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The state is seeking to provide unemployed Alaskans an extra $300 a week in benefits under an option offered by the federal government.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the decision Thursday. It’s not yet clear when the money for the unemployment benefits might be available.

An executive order by President Donald Trump provides for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to states through a grant application process, said Patsy Westcott, director of the Alaska labor department’s Division of Employment and Training Services. States have until Sept. 20 to submit grant applications, she said.

Individuals would have to qualify for at least $100 in unemployment benefits to qualify for the additional $300, she said.

Congress earlier this year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, approved payments of an additional $600 a week for unemployed workers; those benefits recently expired. Trump’s order came with Congress unable to agree on terms for a possible extension.

Alaska had 37,700 fewer jobs in June than it did in June 2019, according to the state labor department. July’s figures aren’t out yet. The June numbers showed widespread business disruptions related to COVID-19, with the leisure and hospitality industry hit particularly hard, according to the department.

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