ALBANY — New Yorkers qualifying for unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus are expected to soon begin receiving $300 a week in federal supplemental payments after the state qualified for the Federal Lost Wages program.
Unemployment claims are managed in New York by the state Department of Labor, which signaled it is updating its computer systems to process the supplemental payments. The new supplement replaces a $600 per week federal pandemic benefit that ran from April 5 to July 31.
"We are diligently working to update our systems so we can administer the Lost Wages Assistance program and deliver supplemental benefits to New Yorkers as quickly as possible," said Deanna Cohen, a spokeswoman for the state agency.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump moved to make up to $44 billion available from federal disaster relief funds for those sidelined from their jobs by the public health crisis.
Trump indicated initially he wanted states to add $100 a week to the payouts but walked that plan back after several states, including New York, said they did not have the funds to chip in. Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially said New York would not participate because of the $100 per week requirement.
Meanwhile, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shelved its guidance urging travelers to isolate themselves for two weeks if they are leaving states with high rates of coronavirus infection. But New York is keeping its quarantine mandate in place, at least for the time being.
The Cuomo administration on Tuesday removed five states from the quarantine list after their infection rates ebbed, but added Guam, a U.S. territory, due to virus concerns there.
Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana dropped from the quarantine list, though if infection rates were to climb in any of them, the impacted state could return to the list of restricted states.
"The pandemic is not over," Cuomo said in a statement released by his office as the governor traveled to upstate Ontario County for a political fundraising event.
According to the latest state data, New York has had 18 consecutive days of the infection rate remaining at less than 1 percent. Testing results Tuesday put the infection rate at 0.94 percent, based on results from more than 67,000 tests.
The region with the highest infection rate was Western York, with 1.8% of tests producing positive results. That statistic was influenced by a total of 55 new infections reported in Erie County.
Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at email@example.com