LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is seeking $300 in additional weekly federal unemployment benefits, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday as the state reported 729 new confirmed virus cases.
Hutchinson said the state is submitting its application to the federal government for the unemployment extension, which Congress has yet to approve.
Arkansas is the latest state to seek the extended benefits under an executive order issued by President Donald Trump earlier this month. Congress had approved payments of $600 a week at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, but those benefits expired Aug. 1 and Congress has been unable to agree on an extension.
Hutchinson opted against seeking $400 in weekly benefits, which would have required the state to pay a quarter of the cost.
The Department of Health reported at least 54,216 people have tested positive for the virus in Arkansas since the pandemic began. Of those cases, 5,919 are active ones that exclude those who have died or recovered.
The state reported 12 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total fatalities to 631.