Governor Dunleavy approves extension of federal UI benefits to help unemployed Alaskans August 13, 2020 With the goal to help Alaskans who are receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, Governor Mike Dunleavy has authorized the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to begin the FEMA application process and utilize state UI Trust Funds that will result in a $300 weekly increase in unemployment benefits. “After reviewing in detail all of the federal unemployment aid options presented to me and my team, choosing to give $300 more per week allows us to use the state’s unemployment trust fund and helps us to best serve Alaskans who need unemployment assistance across the entire state as they weather a very difficult period in our history,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dr. Tamika Ledbetter stated, “This option ensures additional resources to UI claimants in the quickest manner possible without compromising the state budget. It also keeps in place increased benefits during the time period leading to a longer term Congressional solution.” Since March 1, approximately 88,000 Alaskans have received unemployment insurance benefits. The program has paid out through a combination of federal and state funds, nearly $700 million with approximately $89 million of that amount going out to independent business owners.