New Mexico winds down Trump's $300 unemployment supplement
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico labor officials said Wednesday a $300 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits expired on Sept. 5. as payments continue for backdated claims.
The Department of Workforce Solutions announced the tentative end of federal supplements to state unemployment benefits.
The state is distributing lump-sum $1,500 payments that cover the first five weeks of the program, to be followed by one additional $300 payment. That is independent of standard state unemployment benefits that are capped at $461 a week.
President Donald Trump’s $300-a-week jobless aid program was created by an executive order last month after a more generous version adopted by Congress expired and Trump and Congress failed to reach agreement on a new aid package.
"We continue to strongly ask that Congress and the president come up with comprehensive stimulus for our communities with help for workers, schools, businesses, and state and local governments,” Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley said in a statement.
The initial $600 weekly federal supplement ran from April though late July, propping up household income and spending amid a surge in job losses linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
In other pandemic developments:
—The Public Education Department reported three new COVID-19 cases, including one student who was in a school building in McKinley County. Education officials have begun releasing information about school-related infections on a daily basis, following the resumption of in-person learning in some elementary schools.
—Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a cooperative effort to guard against fraud and abuse at nursing homes in cooperation with the attorney general and state auditor. The governor previously appointed Zack Quintero as “state ombudsman” to oversee serve as a consumer advocate in the pandemic response.
—Las Cruces Public Schools board members unanimously voted Tuesday to continue online instruction for most students though the remainder of the fall semester and possibly longer, depending on health guidelines.
Superintendent Karen Trujillo proposed continuing remote learning, except for small groups of students in special education, preschool students and others with a greater need for in-person instruction, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
Some parents raised concerns about technological difficulties and lack of consistency with the online system and argued for a sooner return.
—State health officials announced 119 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide on Tuesday and two related deaths. There have been more than 27,000 cases statewide and 832 deaths since the start of pandemic.
Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick but for most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.