KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arizona Gov. Ducey Accepts Trump Aid For Unemployment, Offers No New State Funding

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey agreed today to accept a federal offer of an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits to replace the $600 payments that expired at the end of last month.

But the governor won't be using cash he has available to provide an optional state match to bring the extra benefits up to $400. Aides said Ducey wants to save that to bail out employers who otherwise would have to pay more to replenish the account that pays the state's basic $240 a week in benefits.

Daniel Scarpinato, the governor's chief of staff, said the aid could start flowing within days.

He also pointed out that the extra cash is retroactive to Aug. 1. That means eligible Arizonans would be paid next week not only for that week but for the two weeks they missed.

That extra cash won't last long.

The dollars are coming out of the federal Disaster Relief Fund. But President Trump has limited that withdrawal to about $44 million, an amount that is estimated to provide just five weeks of payments.

Scarpinato said that provides time to break the stalemate in Congress that allowed the $600 additional benefits to expire. Democrats wanted the full amount; Republicans countered with $200 a week, followed by some figure tied to what people were earning before.

At some point, however, there will no longer be federal funds to supplement what each state provides in benefits.

When that comes, it will leave those in Arizona who lose their jobs through no fault of their own with the maximum payment of $240 a week. Only Mississippi pays less.

But Scarpinato sidestepped repeated questions of whether the governor at some point would be willing to raise the cap, which has not been adjusted since 2004.

More Stories From KJZZ

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.