Idaho Department of Labor sign generic stock image file photo

BOISE — Idaho will begin payments this week under the Trump administration’s new $300 supplemental unemployment benefit, Gov. Brad Little announced Tuesday, which replaces the extra $600 weekly in unemployment that expired July 31.

“We chose to participate in President Trump’s new program as part of a comprehensive approach to our economic rebound,” Little said in a news release, “which includes small business grants and return-to-work incentives.”

To qualify for the additional $300 per week, Idahoans must be unemployed due to COVID-19 and eligible for a regular weekly unemployment benefit of at least $100. That’s because the Trump administration agreed to allow the regular unemployment benefit to serve as a state match, after first saying states would need to match the extra $300 with an additional $100 per week to qualify for it. Payments will be retroactive to the week ending Aug. 1, and will run for up to five weeks.

For those in Idaho who receive less than $100 in regular unemployment, the Idaho Department of Labor will request up to $15 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for the match, to allow them to get the extra $300 as well, the governor announced. Little’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee will consider the request on Thursday.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this month creating the “Lost Wages Assistance Program” after the earlier Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program expired and Congress couldn’t agree on a new coronavirus aid package to replace it.

“Idaho’s economy is open, and most Idahoans have returned to work safely,” Little said. ”However, the number of available jobs reported in Idaho is still lower than the number of unemployed Idahoans. President Trump’s new conservative plan ensures struggling American families can continue to pay their mortgages and avoid debt, which helps stabilize consumer spending and prevent a deeper recession.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.