FEMA approves extension of federal UI benefits to help unemployed Alaskans August 24, 2020 As part of the plan to get more unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to Alaskans, FEMA approved federal grant funding for the State of Alaska that will result in a $300 weekly increase on top of their regular unemployment benefits. “Alaskans have had to push through some very difficult times as part of COVID-19,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This money will help provide financial relief for those who need it the most.” The FEMA grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program will pay out $19,902,565 to the State of Alaska. Funds are expected to take approximately eight weeks to be dispersed and will be retroactive to the date when the $600 of federal unemployment payments ended. “This keeps in place increased benefits without compromising the state budget, said Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, Commissioner Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “I will work with FEMA to get these funds to Alaskans in the quickest manner possible.” 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.