[Updated Aug 2021] With the rapid spread of the Delta strain and prospects of an economic slowdown heading into the winter months, government leaders are having serious discussions at the federal and state levels keep some or all of the pandemic unemployment programs in place through at least the end of 2021.
Since it is highly unlikely Congress (who are in recess now) will be able to pass any bills ahead of the Sep 6th pandemic unemployment programs funding expiration, there is talk of the Biden administration repurposing some of existing ARPA stimulus bill funding to extend unemployment programs to the end of the year.
This is similar to the 6-week LWA extension that then President Trump did by executive order in September 2020 (see update below) when Congress could not agree on funding the first extension to the original CARES act stimulus.
If Congress cannot provide additional funding then I think this will be the most likely path for a short term “emergency” extension of pandemic benefits and could be done relatively quickly along party lines.
Note that states which had ceased participation early in the federally funded unemployment programs will need to reapply to get access to this short term extension, if indeed it is passed.
Original LWA program Update
The $300 (or $400 in some states) weekly unemployment benefit under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program has now been approved across all eligible states that have applied and has started hitting people’s bank accounts or debit cards. This includes retroactive payments to August 1st, the official start date of the program.
While this supplementary payment, in addition to regular state unemployment benefits, is a much needed benefit for eligible unemployed or underemployed workers there is now a lot of concern that funding for this program is about to run out. In fact because of the delayed roll out of this program, some states have already exhausted their LWA allocation funding.
As a reminder, FEMA guidelines for this program, state that the LWA weekly payments will continue until any of these conditions are met:
- FEMA has expended $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) or the DRF balances reaches $25 billion.
- Enactment of legislation extending unemployment benefits due to COVID-19.
- The program end date of December 27, 2020 is reached.
The first item is the biggest constraint and FEMA has already confirmed (via the AP) that all states that apply for grants will only receive funding for a maximum 6 weeks (weeks of August 1st to Sep 5th). Once funding runs out, the payments will cease and only regular or some enhanced benefits (PUA, PEUC, EB) will be available.
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.
Florida has only applied for 4 weeks of the program even though 6 was available. See more in this article.
Texas (TX) Notifies Claimants that FEMA Funding for LWA Program Has Ended
From the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) – Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has notified TWC that the last week of funding for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program was the benefit week ending September 5, 2020. FEMA previously approved TWC for six weeks of funding from August 1, 2020, through September 5, 2020 for the Lost Wage Assistance $300 benefit program but has now been provided notification that no additional LWA payments will be allowed for weeks subsequent to September 5, 2020.
For what weeks did TWC receive funding? TWC received funding for the weeks of:
- August 1, 2020
- August 8, 2020
- August 15, 2020
- August 22, 2020
- August 29, 2020
- September 5, 2020.
TWC will continue to pay eligible claimants for the approved six weeks, for as long as the existing FEMA funds deposited to TWC remain available.
Arizona Central reports that more than 400,000 Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits need to prepare for the $300 supplement in those payments to end abruptly, perhaps as soon as September 13th.
“Unfortunately, we are going to have very little notice when this happens,” AZ DES Director Michael Wisehart said. “And so it is likely that the ($300) benefit will stop abruptly for individuals.”
Arizona has authorization from FEMA to pay the supplement the current week (starting Sep 5th) and is working on FEMA authorization to pay it next week, a sixth week. The payments cover the previous week of missed work, so the “sixth week” of payments would cover work people missed in the current week, from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5.
Montana (MT) LWA Funding Ending per FEMA notification
Like Texas, the Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) has also been notified by FEMA that their LWA funding has run out and the week ending September 5, will be the last week paid.
DLI began issuing $400 weekly payments to eligible claimants on August 26, 2020. FEMA funded $300 of the weekly payment and Montana contributed another $100 from its CARES Act relief funds.
LWA payments were authorized by FEMA to approved states on a week to week basis. Montana was awarded LWA funding in increments, the first covering three weeks of payments from benefit week ending August 1, and the next three covering benefit weeks through September 5, 2020. No LWA payments will be made beyond the six-week period.
Georgia Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program paying a maximum of $1800
WBS-2 Atlanta confirmed that hundreds of thousands of Georgians will start receiving $1,800 in extra unemployment benefits next week (starting September 13th) as part of the Lost Wages Assistance Program. The money will be distributed as six extra payments of $300, spread over two days. The first $900 payment will be distributed and the second $900 payment will be issued by the end of the week.
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said anyone who hasn’t gotten money yet under existing PUA, PEUC and EB programs should continue to call and email the Department of Labor. Officials said they are working through a backlog of cases that need more investigation.
Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
As of September 11th, The MA DUA has disbursed the 6th and final Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) $300 supplemental benefit to unemployment claimants in the Commonwealth.