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Hawaii Applies For Trump Disaster Relief Unemployment Funds

Casey Harlow / HPR

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday the state will apply to take advantage of a Trump administration program that will pay for an extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits to those who are jobless.

Ige said in a statement he was acting to maximize the federal funds available to help people in Hawaii who are out of work due to COVID-19.

President Donald Trump made the money available with an executive order setting aside $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The president’s plan called on states to kick in money of their own to contribute an additional $100 a week. Ige’s announcement didn’t indicate what he would do about the $100.

The payments are intended to partially replace $600 in weekly payments provided in addition to the usual unemployment insurance benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump issued his executive order after the $600 “plus-up” ended last month and Congress wasn’t able to agree on a program to replace it.

Anne Eustaquio, the acting director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, said her department has begun building a new program within the current computer system to pay the benefits.

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