The Employment Security Department of Washington announced yesterday it will apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program through FEMA no later than today. If it’s approved it will allow ESD to provide an additional $300 per week for three weeks to those who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis and are receiving unemployment benefits.
Lost Wages Assistance is a temporary emergency measure to provide additional unemployment benefits to eligible claimants. It is not the same as the additional $600 per week that was available under the specific CARES Act provision called the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which expired at the end of July. Lost Wages Assistance has different requirements for eligibility and is drawn from a limited pool of money from FEMA to be shared among all states that apply and are approved. This program was authorized through a Presidential Memorandum signed on Aug. 8. The funds are retroactive to the unemployment benefit week ending Aug. 1.
To qualify for this additional funding, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This will require a new step for claimants currently receiving regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits. If the application is approved, Employment Security Department will provide a defined timeline for when the program will launch so that payments can be made to eligible claimants. To learn more, go to esd.wa.gov. (ESD)