On August 28th, the State of Minnesota applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program that was authorized in the presidential memo on August 8th. With the necessary prep work already completed, the Unemployment Insurance program will begin to pay benefits as soon as FEMA approves the state’s application. The Lost Wages Assistance benefits are retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020.
LWA will provide a temporary additional $300 a week benefit to people receiving unemployment benefits. To be eligible, an applicant must have a weekly unemployment benefit amount of at least $100 and must be unemployed due to COVID-19. Those already receiving unemployment benefits do not need to reapply or do anything other than their weekly benefits request. The State will review all payment requests made for the week of July 26 and going forward and will automatically pay those applicants that are eligible.
The first three weeks for which the state will make LWA payments to eligible applicants are:
- July 26 – August 1
- August 2 – August 8
- August 9 – August 15
The program will end no later than December 27, 2020, but may end earlier if any of the following occur:
- FEMA pays out the $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) account.
- The total balance of the DRF account decreases to $25 billion.
- Legislation is enacted by Congress providing supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation.
As of August 24, FEMA had approved 30 state’s applications: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington.
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