On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, John P. Pallasch, assistant secretary for employment and training at the Labor Department, said it could take some states up to six weeks to figure out how to get a program up and running.
As of Friday, funds had been approved for 15 states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Keith Turi, a FEMA official, said on the call on Thursday that the initial approvals were for three weeks. “We’ll add additional weeks from there as needed,” he said.
Most states, though, are still reviewing the rules issued by the federal government to determine how to carry them out.
Florida is mulling “the best course of action that will preserve the state’s financial stability while providing important assistance to Floridians in need,” said Cody McCloud, the press secretary to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Ohio plans to apply, but is considering what it needs to do to upgrade its systems, said Bret Crow, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
States have until Sept. 10 to apply for the funds.
The extra benefit is likely to run out after five weeks.
To finance the program without a congressional appropriation, Mr. Trump set it up to draw from federal disaster funds — a limited pool — and the administration said that no more than $44 billion would be spent.
According to estimates from FEMA and the Labor Department, that sum will cover four or five weeks of payments to unemployed workers who are eligible. The funds are supposed to be retroactive to Aug. 1, so recipients might be paid only through early September.