PHOENIX - As Congress squabbled over increasing unemployment benefits, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 8, increasing it by $400 -- but it is being met with skepticism and questions over how long it might take to disburse those funds.
The funding formula is an important part. 75% has to come from the feds and 25% from the state.
Thousands of Arizonans are hopeful that soon their unemployment payouts will increase by $400 every week.
We all remember how long it took the state to get pandemic unemployment up and running. This time, it might be even more challenging, according to one national analyst.
When Arizona closed Kim Smith's unemployment account, confusing it for fraud, it made it tough to get by, especially with the weekly $600 bonus ending.
"Cutting it really tight."
She is trying to find an apartment while waiting for the Department of Economic Security to solve the error.
"I have my credit cards, so I'm going to use that and I have a little bit of cash that I saved that will be gone once I pay the deposit," said Smith.
When the president signed the executive order, Smith was filled with hope, but skeptical.
"I think that's a good amount, even with Arizona's little $240. That's a good amount to live off of.
Dave Wells, research director at the Grand Canyon Institute says the $300 that comes from the feds will only last about five weeks. The remaining $100 the state pays can come from the Cares Act funding. The increae may cost Arizona $325 million.
"It's an all or nothing thing, so if the state doesn't put up their portion, then there's nothing that comes from the federal government," said Wells.
Governor Doug Ducey's office has not said yet how they’ll fund it, but a spokesperson told us they’ll look to apply these changes and give us more answers soon.
President Trump's team said they want the money disbursed soon and stressed they’ll work around the clock to get it out once states start applying for the money.
But when can you actually expect this money to hit your weekly payments? The Department of Economic Security hasn’t answered that question.
Michele Evermore, an analyst with the National Employment Law Project told me in states like Arizona, it may take months.
"It would require massive effort on state agencies part to get this up and running. This is a whole new program," she said. "I think in a state like Arizona that had trouble setting up the pandemic unemployment assistance in particular, this is going to be a difficult, if not impossible system to set up."
Filers hope for a quicker solution.
"People that aren't in this position don't know what it's like. They just don't," said Smith.
"We've got to worry about making sure there's food on the table," said Todd Serna. "I hope it's done quickly."
The governor's office has stated that they will provide more specifics soon.
Important to note: the federal fund this money comes from is a finite amount, so once it runs out, it’s out. That means it would benefit states to get systems up fast.