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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Montana Applies For Federal Unemployment Grant

Sign reading 'temporarily closed dut to coronavirus pandemic'.

The state of Montana has applied for federal grant money to add $400 per week to individual unemployment benefits.

President Donald Trump ordered the boost in payments a week ago. People had been receiving an added $600 per week in unemployment payments under the CARES Act, but that expired at the end of July.

Trump directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make $44 billion available to states from its Disaster Relief Fund to help pay for the $400 boost, and asked states to kick in a quarter of the cost. Montana will use federal coronavirus relief funds to pay its share.

According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the $400 boost in benefits could end in a matter of weeks if FEMA funding runs out or if Congress creates a new assistance program. The payments will expire no later than Dec. 27.

More than 36,000 people filed an unemployment claim in Montana for the week ending Aug. 1, according to the state.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.
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