The state unemployment office said it started issuing increased benefits checks Thursday in a federal program that will briefly boost weekly payments by $300.

The money is scheduled to arrive in a separate, lump sum, check of $900,says the N.C. Division of Employment Security. Payments will go out in batches over the next few days, the division adds.

The money comes from federal disaster funding through a program President Donald trump announced in early August. Funds are limited but are retroactive.

While it lasts, the program will give a $300-per-week supplement to unemployment benefits for people who qualify for at least $100 a week in state benefits and are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will decide on additional funding availability on a weekly basis, and the state will pass that money on as long as it's available, DES shared on Thursday.

Without these benefits, North Carolina's unemployment program pays people about half their weekly salary. The North Carolina General Assembly is finalizing a change that may increase the state benefit by $50 a week.

A previous $600-a-week federal boost expired this summer. It's possible Congress will provide a similar program in the future.