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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Unemployed Iowans wondering when they'll see extra $300 in benefits

It's been over a week since Iowa was approved for additional funding for unemployed benefits, but the state hasn't said when they'll see that money.

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Aug. 14, the Trump administration approved Iowa's application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance Program that grants an extra $300 in benefits to unemployed Americans. 

It's been over a week since then, and some Iowans are wondering when they will see that extra money.

Carroll resident Bob Bryant lost his job back in May. He helps to support his wife and two kids. 

Bryant said that extra money on his unemployment check helped him make ends meet until he could find another job. 

When Local 5 spoke to Bryant Tuesday, he was actually driving back from a job interview. 

It's a position that Bryant is really hoping he gets because if he doesn't, he might not be able to keep up with his bills. 

"I've been late on an electric bill," Bryant said. "Ended up getting a little behind, but almost catching up with a little help from a county program. I had to hop on EBT for a while. I'm still currently on it. It is what it is. Anything I can do to try to make ends meet and keep my family fed."

Bryant isn't alone.

Dominic Urso of Council Bluffs said he's so short on cash that he did away with his car insurance. 

"I'm not able to get my car fixed. And obviously, which I called my car insurance and did away with that as well because I don't have the money to fix my car," Urso said. 

Urso has never been on government assistance of any kind. He filed for unemployment back in mid-July because he underwent cancer treatment and couldn't work. 

He said this is the first time since he was 13 years old he's been without a job. 

"Obviously I would rather be at work being an electrician instead of being on unemployment," Urso said. "It really plays a number on your psyche too. As far as being a father; as far as being somebody that prides themselves in taking care of things and being able to do the things that your kids want to do."

Urso said he feels the government doesn't care people are struggling.

"It's just funny that our government officials aren't struggling, but the people that they represent are," Urso said. 

"It doesn't seem like they really care. If they cared, I think that this would have been resolved. I understand that they had to implement a new process, but what if it was their mortgage? If it was their kids going without food or school clothes? It probably wouldn't take two weeks or a month."

Urso tried to remain positive though. 

"I look at the bigger picture, which there's a lot of people that would love to be in my position because there have been so many people that have passed away from this," Urso said. 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits on August 8. Under this order, the federal government will pay eligible unemployed Americans an extra $300 a week. 

States are able to choose to pay an additional $100, but Iowa opted not to.

Due to this, Iowans must receive at least $100 a week in state benefits to qualify for the extra federal funds.

A report published Tuesday shows most states aren't paying out the extra $100 a week. The exceptions are Montana, West Virginia and Kentucky. 

South Dakota declined to participate in the program overall, meaning residents won't be able to get any extra money in their unemployment checks. 

Local 5 asked Iowa Workforce Development to see if that $100 is pre-tax, but did not receive a response.

As for the extra $300, IWD didn't give a specific date for when Iowans will see that money but said they will update their website when they have more information to share. 

For now, unemployed Iowans can file with the state for unemployment benefits if they haven't done so already via IWD's website. The site also lists temporary job openings statewide. 

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