Oregon is preparing to pay out the $300 weekly unemployment bonus President Donald Trump approved last month, but for most the money won’t come unless they take an extra step to certify they’re eligible.

Here are the basics:

Trump redirected federal emergency funds to pay six weeks of $300 weekly unemployment bonuses. People who lost work due to the pandemic are eligible for an extra $300 a week for the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5.

The Lost Wages Assistance program requires most participants to certify that they lost work due to the pandemic. Oregonians who received unemployment benefits during that periodcan certify their eligibility at unemployment.oregon.gov

Self-employed workers participating in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program don’t have to certify their eligibility. Their money will come automatically.

And here’s the backstory.

Congress approved $600 weekly unemployment bonuses in March, at the beginning of the pandemic. The program expired in July, and Congress hasn’t been able to agree on an extension.

So Trump tapped those federal relief funds to pay several more weeks of $300 benefits. The president initially described $400 payments, but the administration later clarified the additional $100 would have to come out of state coffers.

Most states, including Oregon, declined to pay the extra $100 in the face of a budget crunch triggered by coronavirus recession.

Most states have taken several weeks to begin implementing the new $300 bonus program. The Oregon Employment Department hopes to begin paying the $300 bonuses for all the eligible weeks by the end of September.

The department hasn’t said how many are eligible for the payments, but an average of 174,000 Oregonians filed continued unemployment claims during the six-week eligibility period.

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