LACONIA — The date when New Hampshire residents will see their unemployment compensation grow by $300 per week depends in some part on how much they are making now.
The boost should come early next month for those who are currently drawing at least $100 per week, said Richard Lavers, deputy commissioner of New Hampshire Employment Security. About 95 percent of the people in the system fall in this category.
Those earning less than $100 per week will have their state compensation boosted to $100, plus the additional $300 from the federal program, for a total of $400 per week starting in early October.
All increased compensation will be retroactive to Aug. 1.
In order to be eligible for the enhanced unemployment compensation, the recipient needs to certify that they are unemployed as a result of the economic disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new federal money is being made available through a presidential executive order.
When the order was first made, it appeared that the state would have to come up with a new $100 per week for unemployment recipients to qualify for the additional $300.
New federal guidance specifies that money already being paid out by the state would qualify as the matching funds to leverage the new federal money.
The only new state money that is being spent will be the $10 million to bring all unemployment compensation recipients up to at least $100 per week.
The enhanced unemployment compensation is to apply through the end of the year, but that is contingent on the $44 billion dedicated to the program nationwide lasting that long. The burn rate on the federal funds will depend on how many states participate.
An earlier $600 per week federally funded boost in unemployment compensation ran out at the end of July. Congress wasn’t able to come up with a new coronavirus relief plan.
The average unemployment benefit in the state without a federal enhancement is about $330 per week.
When the $600 federal boost was in effect, some business owners said the weekly compensation level was so high that it acted as a disincentive for people to return to work.
Lavers said the fact that the new enhancement is $300, or half the previous amount, should address some of those concerns. He also said the rate of people filing for unemployment in New Hampshire has been falling faster than in many other states.
“We are continuing to provide them help to get to the next job,” Lavers said. “A lot of work has gone into creating a new jobs portal that has been up and running since July 14.”
Last week, his department held a jobs fair in virtual format. More than 40 employers were represented and 600 jobs were available.