A New $300 supplementary unemployment payment in 2021?
As part of ongoing discussions around an extension to unemployment benefits in the latest stimulus bill, lawmakers are reaching consensus on a supplementary $300 payment for up to 12 weeks between Jan 2021 and March 2021. This will likely work similar to the LWA program (details below). Details on how this will be managed and if any additional eligibility criteria are still to be released, but it is highly likely this payment will start in New Year. I will post updates as more information comes to hand.
[Lost Wages Assistance Program updates] With the expiration of the FPUC program and the $600 weekly payment at the end of July, many unemployed or underemployed individuals were left high and dry until the LWA program was put in place via President Trump’s Executive order. The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is in effect from August 1st to the last week in December, but per the table below states are now paying out under this program but will likely take several weeks for some state UI agencies – who are administering the payments along with other enhanced benefits – to update their systems and start making payments.
All states that applied and were approved by FEMA were only awarded three weeks of initial funding– covering the weeks of August 1st, 8th and August 15th. FEMA will then approve additional weeks of funding for LWA payments on a week by week basis (states have to apply for this). However any additional funding is subject to the $44 billion budget that is available for this program and it is almost certain that funding will run out before the December 27th expiry of this program, unless Congress approves additional funding via a formal UI benefits extension. At this stage FEMA has advised only a maximum of 6 weeks of funding has been approved for most states.
However the good news per DOL and FEMA guidelines is that, similar to the $600 FPUC payments, this payment will be made retroactive to August 1 (week of July 26th). So even though some states will likely take until late September to make these payments they will be making retroactive back payments back to the first week of August if you qualified for the payment.
Retroactive back payments for the initially funded three weeks will likely be paid in one lump sum – up to $900 if you are eligible for all weeks this program is in effect. Additional retroactive payments will be made for weeks the states have approved funding. E.g states who started paying out in mid-September (like Maryland) made the full $1800 payment to eligible recipients. Retroactive back payments however are not guaranteed for new claimants, those who certify late or those with claim issues, since funding is only provided on a weekly basis by FEMA.
Another important point to note is that unlike the $600 payment, the $300 or $400 LWA payment requires a claimant to be getting at least $100 of unemployment benefits from existing federal and/or state programs. This is significantly different to the $1 requirement for the $600 FPUC program. You will likely need to certify on a weekly or bi-weekly certification period that you meet this minimum threshold to get retroactive payments. The $100 minimum threshold is based on the claimants base period for calculating unemployment insurance benefits. For example in California, a person would need to have earned at least $2,574.01 in a qualifying quarter to receive at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits from the state.
When do the $300 to 400 unemployment benefit (including retroactive) payments start in my state?
The table below provides the actual and estimated (when no official date available) for when the $300 (or $400 in certain states) payment will be made. This includes retroactive back payments, which will be paid along with regular weekly unemployment benefits. Also its important to know that the $300 payment may be staggered in several states (e.g CA, PA, NY) due to the large volume of claimants. So if you see your state with a status of paying now and a date in the past, just know that your payment is likely scheduled to be processed (assuming you are eligible and had certified) and may take a few days after the listed date. And as always, check your state’s UI portal or official emails for your specific payment details.
Phase 2 Staggered LWA Payments – CA, NY, PA, NC
Due to the volume of payments and the fact that FEMA is approving/funding for remaining weeks (following the initial 3 week grant) several state like California and New York are paying the last few weeks of the LWA program. You can see this noted in the table (where specific dates have been published) and across the many comments below. So if you do see a delay between your first and subsequent rounds of payment it is likely due to the staggered nature of payments. Unfortunately states have not always been clear on the timing for these “phase 2” payments as they are dependent of FEMA approval/funding and internal processing so many eligible claimants are facing delays in getting all their LWA payments.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) State Payment Date and Status
|State||LWA Status||Start Date||Max Weeks||Weekly Amount|
(see estimate details)
|Arkansas||Paid||Sep 12 (up to Oct 2nd)||6||$300|
|California||Paid||Sep 7th (Phase 1)|
Sep 15th (Phase 2)
|Colorado||Paid||From Sep 18th|
|District of Columbia||Paid||From Sep 28th |
|Hawaii||Paid||Sep 23rd |
|Indiana||Paid||Week of Sep 21st||6||$300|
|Kansas||Paid||From Oct 6th |
|Maryland||Paid||Sep 12th (schedule)||6||$300|
|Nebraska||Paid||Sep 18th (First 3 weeks)|
From Sep 20th (remaining payments)
|Nevada||Paying 5th and 6th weeks||From Oct 20th (First 3 weeks)|
From Nov 11 (Last 3 weeks)
(see DETR updates)
|New Hampshire||Paid||Sep 12th||6||$300|
|New Jersey||Paid||From Oct 22nd|
(see more details)
|New Mexico||Paid||Sep 10th||6||$300|
|New York||Paid||Sep 14th||6||$300|
|North Carolina||Paid||Sep 6th (4 weeks)|
Sep 16th (2 weeks)
|North Dakota||Paid||Sep 17th||6||$300|
|Ohio||Paid||From Sep 14th (on PUA)|
From Sep 20th (others)
|Pennsylvania||Paid||Sep 17th (first 3 wk batch)|
Sep 24th (second 3wk batch)
|Rhode Island||Paid||Sep 6th||6||$300|
|South Carolina||Paid||Sep 25th |
(7 to 14 days processing)
|South Dakota||No Payment||Did not enroll||6||-|
|Utah||Paid||Sep 9th to Sep 23rd|
(paying in batches)
|Vermont||Paid||Week of Sep 14th||6||$300|
(see payout details)
|West Virginia||Paid||Sep 16th||6||$400
|Wisconsin||Paid||From Oct 22nd||6||$300|
Payment Start date is when the state actually started processing LWA payments OR is the estimated date of the first payment processing based on available information. Note: Due to bank processing delays, it can take 2 to 4 days after the noted dates for benefits to hit your bank account or debit card. Please see links to more information in the table or your state UI website for specific payment status. If you find any mistakes or have updates, please leave a comment below and I will update table to help others.
Because there there is no requirement under the Lost Wages Assistance program that an individual’s job separation be directly related to COVID-19 (indirect association is acceptable under self certification) many more individuals may qualify for this program (vs PUA). The end date for this program, assuming funding is available is December 27th 2020.