STATEWIDE — President Trump has signed into law a $900 billion Pandemic Relief Package. This comes after talk of whether he would accept the bipartisan deal.
President Trump made the announcement on Twitter Sunday saying, “Good news on COVID Relief Bill. Information to follow!”
This bill extends the federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
“The establishment of a rent relief fund I think will be a big deal for a lot of people,” said James Myall, a policy analyst for the Maine Center for Economic Policy.
“Then also increasing food assistance for folks that qualify for that as well,” he said.
In a statement sent from the Maine Department of Labor, officials said the department is reviewing the legislation — which they call a lifeline for thousand of Mainers.
The state must receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can issue payments. They said they’re working to put the changes into place as quickly as possible.
However, Myall said before it was signed on Sunday, there was a lot of uncertainty for the nearly 34,000 Mainers who heavily rely on this money.
“Because the bill was signed on Sunday, instead of Saturday, sort of the way that the language was written in the bill it potentially means that folks won’t get a payment for this week, which they would’ve if the bill was signed earlier,” Myall said.
Commissioner Laura Fortman released a statement saying, “This interruption in the programs will cause at least a one week delay in people receiving their federal benefits”.
She continued, “We are relieved that the bi-partisan COVID Relief Package has been signed by the President.”
The department is urging people who are still unemployed and receiving benefits to continue to file their weekly certifications.
“It’s important I think on the individual level for those 40 plus thousand people and their families who really need this money to make ends meet,” said Myall.