[Updated with FEMA approvals, state payout dates and FAQs] The table below shows which states have now officially enrolled in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) unemployment benefits program. They will be the first to start paying out the base federally funded $300 payment. Whether state UI agencies add the extra $100 weekly payment on top of this base amount (which is their obligation under the LWA program) or just count existing unemployment benefits towards this $100 will vary state to state. The table also shows an estimated date claimants can expect their first weekly unemployment payment, if eligible. I’ll continue to update the table as more states sign-up for the program.
According to the FEMA website (which is funding this program under Trump’s executive order), states may provide supplemental lost wages payments from the week of unemployment ending August 1, 2020, to claimants currently eligible for at least $100 per week in unemployment insurance compensation from regular state unemployment, UCFE, UCX, PEUC, PUA, EB, STC, TRA and SEA.
$600 FPUC vs $300 to $400 LWA – $99 Qualification difference
Many people have been asking if they qualified for the $600 FPUC payment prior to its expiry at the end of July, would they qualify for the current LWA payment? Sadly the answer may be no, because the $600 FPUC payment only had a requirement that the claimant be eligible to get at least $1 of regular state UI. The LWA unemployment benefit on the other hand (per above) requires claimants to be getting at least $100 of UI benefits (on a pre-tax basis). This $99 difference is a pretty significant difference in many states with low unemployment insurance benefits and in many cases the $100 threshold may eliminate part time workers or those furloughed from their jobs with partial incomes. Not however in some high unemployment benefit states like New York, the minimum unemployment payment for eligible claimants is $104. So everyone receiving UI benefits in that state will qualify for LWA.
|State||Payment Status?||Payment Starts (est)||Weekly Benefit|
|Alabama||Paying Now||Sep 6th||$300|
|Alaska||Payment Pending||Sep 20th||$300|
|Arizona||Paying Now||Aug 17th||$300|
|Arkansas||Paying Now||Sep 12 (up to Oct 2nd)||$300|
|California||Paying Now||Sep 7th||$300|
|Colorado||Payment Pending||Sep 20th||$300|
|Connecticut||Paying Now||Sep 17th||$300|
|Delaware||Paying Now||Sep 18th||$300|
|District of Columbia||Payment Date Confirmed||October 1st week||$300|
|Florida||Paying Now||Sep 8th||$300|
|Georgia||Paying Now||Sep 12th||$300|
|Hawaii||Payment Pending||Early October||$300|
|Idaho||Paying Now||Sep 12th||$300|
|Illinois||Paying Now||Sep 8th||$300|
|Indiana||Payment Date Confirmed||Sep 21st||$300|
|Iowa||Paying Now||Sep 9th||$300|
|Kansas||Payment Pending||Sep 20th||$300|
|Kentucky||Paying Now||Sep 15th||$400|
|Louisiana||Paying Now||Aug 27th||$300|
|Maine||Paying Now||Sep 12th||$300|
|Maryland||Paying Now||Sep 12th||$300|
|Massachusetts||Paying Now||Sep 7th||$300|
|Michigan||Paying Now||Sep 10th||$300|
|Minnesota||Paying Now||Sep 4th||$300|
|Mississippi||Paying Now||Sep 10th||$300|
|Missouri||Paying Now||Aug 23rd||$300|
|Montana||Paying Now||Aug 30th||$400|
|Nebraska||Paying Now||Sep 18th (First 3 weeks)|
From Sep 20th (remaining payments)
|Nevada||Payment Pending||Sep 27th||$300|
|New Hampshire||Paying Now||Sep 12th||$300|
|New Jersey||Payment Pending||Delayed to early October||$300|
|New Mexico||Paying Now||Sep 10th||$300|
|New York||Paying Now||Sep 14th||$300|
|North Carolina||Paying Now||Sep 6th (4 weeks)|
Sep 16th (2 weeks)
|North Dakota||Paying Now||Sep 17th||$300|
|Ohio||Paying Now||Sep 16th (For PUA recipients only); Sep 28th for others||$300|
|Oklahoma||Payment Pending||Sep 20th||$300|
|Oregon||Payment Pending||Sep 30th||$300|
|Pennsylvania||Paying Now||Sep 14th (paid 1 wk after regular benefits)||$300|
|Rhode Island||Paying Now||Sep 6th||$300|
|South Carolina||Payment Pending||Sep 20th||$300|
|South Dakota||No Payment||Did not enroll||-|
|Tennessee||Paying Now||Aug 30th||$300|
|Texas||Paying Now||Aug 23rd||$300|
|Utah||Paying Now||First 3 wks: Sep 9th to Sep 15th|
Second round: Sep 16th to Sep 23rd
|Vermont||Paying Now||Week of Sep 14th||$300|
|Virginia||Payment Date Confirmed||Sep 30th||$300|
|Washington||Payment Date Confirmed||Sep 21st||$300|
|West Virginia||Paying Now||Sep 16th||$400
|Wisconsin||Payment Pending||End of October||$300|
|Wyoming||Paying Now||Sep 13th||$300|
Table Methodology: The LWA state tracker table was last updated on Sep 18th. Payment Start date is when the state actually starts processing current and/or retroactive UI payments OR estimated based on FEMA approval date of LWA grant plus 3 to 5 weeks for state to implement changes. Note: It can take 2 to 4 days after this date for payments to hit your bank account or debit card. Where a state has started paying benefits, you will see the Payment Status column updated to "Paying Now" to reflect this. Please see your state UI website for your specific claim payment status. If you find any mistakes or have updates, please leave a comment below and I will update table to help others.
Note – States must apply via FEMA (by September 10th, 2020) to get access to unemployment funding for the LWA. Once FEMA reviews and approves the state’s grant application, the State Unemployment Insurance agency will coordinate with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and FEMA to program, implement, and distribute LWA funds once they update their systems to support program requirements such as claimant eligibility. States will be the ones administering the program and making payouts. The table above shows which states are currently approved and the estimated week payments will begin. This is an estimated date and you should check your states unemployment website for exact payout dates
The DOL estimates it will take 3 weeks on average for states to start the LWA supplementary unemployment benefit payouts once funding grant is approved by FEMA. Some states like Arizona and Texas were working on these updates ahead of approval and so have already started making payouts in August. Other states are slow in applying and have antiquated systems so claimants could only start seeing payments in late September!
The LWA program is scoped to provide benefits to eligible recipients between August 1st to December 27th 2020, so states enrolled will have to make retroactive payments where applicable. You will need to refer to state websites for instructions to file for LWA program (may require you to reapply) and certify for past weeks.
Also it is highly likely that the $44 billion funding for the LWA program via FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund will run out well before the December end date, unless Congress agrees on funding for an extension. States were initially only approved for 3 weeks and will have to keep requesting funding approval from FEMA on weekly basis. Some experts are saying benefits will only last 4 to 6 weeks, so states that have signed up early will likely get the most benefit payments. Further if your payments stop, it is likely due to states running out of federal funding.
Note however that should Congress pass another stimulus bill with enhanced unemployment benefits funding (e.g. FPUC extension), the LWA program will terminate immediately per program guidelines.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and Comments
Based on some repeated questions in the comment section below I have received here are answers to help those who may have similar questions:
Question – I’m listed as DUA for my unemployment. Will I get the 300 dollars (under LWA) or don’t I qualify for under DUA?
Answer – This depends on how you got your Disaster unemployment assistance (DUA). If your DUA benefits qualification was not related to the Pandemic, e.g due to natural disasters (flood, hurricane) that impacted your employment, then you won’t be eligible for LWA. However Individuals receiving DUA benefits because their employment was impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for LWA. Note some state unemployment agencies (e.g Texas and Oklahoma) are sometimes referring to DUA as PUA, in which case under PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) you would qualify for the $300 to $400 LWA payment.
Question – I am just below the $100 threshold ($90 to $99), can I still get this payment?
Gina asked, “I receive $97 a week in unemployment benefit in California. Will I get the extra $300? Just $3 short!”
Technically no. You must be getting at least $100 (pre-tax) in weekly benefits from the following qualified unemployment programs below to get the extra $300 to $400 LWA payment. However several states like California and New York are temporarily raising their state minimum unemployment benefit to put claimants in their states above the $100 limit so they qualify for LWA. You will need to check with your state unemployment agency to see if they will make this exception for you.
- Unemployment compensation, including regular State Unemployment Compensation,
- Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Extended Benefits (EB)
- Short-Time Compensation (STC)
- Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
- Payments under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program
Question: Working part time or a few hours, will I qualify for LWA?
This was Jonathan’s example: I qualify for weekly $117 PUA payments every week. This week I worked one day part time and will receive less than $100 from PUA. Will I still Receive the additional $300?
Answer: The LWA program’s $100 cutoff is based on a claimant’s benefit base rate, which is calculated before any
deductions or reductions. This includes supplementary job payments by working part time in a given week, which would reduce your normal UI benefit claim. Because LWA eligibility is based on what you are eligible for or your base rate, you can still qualify for the $300 LWA payment if your actual weekly payment (net of taxes and deductions) is less than $100.
Question: Do I have to reapply to get these benefits?
Answer: It will depend on your state. In most states you won’t have to reapply and will be notified via mail or your UI portal around your eligibility and payment date for these benefits (will be on your claim balance). You may have to self certify that your unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (which is a very general criteria that almost anyone can use). Payments will be made retroactive to August 1st for the weeks you have certified and qualified ($100 threshold) for this payment.
Question Are LWA payments subject to federal income tax?
Answer: Yes. LWA is subject to federal income tax and will have been communicated to you by your state UI agency at the time of filing or certification
Question: Can LWA UI payments be withheld or offset for Child Support or Past Debt payments?
Answer: According to DOL guidance, Offsets of LWA payments other than for tax withholding are not permitted by state agencies. This includes child support debts.
[Aug 15th update] With Congress unable to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill and no impending legal challenge, it looks like Trumps executive order to extend and replace the existing extra weekly unemployment benefit (FPUC, or $600 weekly payment) may actually be implemented following guidance by the Department of Labor (DOL) on the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. The following are key guidelines issued by the DOL:
The LWA program will provide eligible claimants in state administered unemployment Insurance (UI) programs up to $400 per week additional UI benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment on or after Aug. 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 27, 2020 at the latest. This means that payments will be retroactive to August 1st, even though the program has been implemented after that.
Per recent federal enhanced unemployment benefit programs guidelines, to quality for LWA benefits claimants must certify that they are unemployed or under unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) related reasons, and the state must confirm that the individual is receiving at least $100 of existing unemployment benefits under current benefit programs (which include state UI, PUA or PEUC). This is supposedly to prevent fraud from people who were claiming this payment with minimal UI benefits.
LWA will be funded through a joint federal-state agreement that requires states to contribute 25% ($100) of the benefit payment with the remainder (75%, or $300) coming from the federal government. States can use their own budgets or the emergency Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) they received under the CARES Act to cover their portion of the enhanced LWA UI payment, however this is not mandatory and is at the discretion of the state administration.
More importantly under DOL guidance, states may count funds that are already used to provide regular state UI payments toward the state match. If this is the case then the revised extra FPUC weekly UI amount would only be $300, the federally funded amount.
Because Trump’s executive order cannot allocate new federal funding, the LWA program may end earlier than Dec. 27 (highly likely) if FEMA expends $44 billion or the balance of the Disaster Relief Fund decreases to $25 billion. Congress would then have to approve additional funding.
There are still several questions around how and when states can implement this. While the DOL guidelines will provide more clarity it will likely take weeks for states to update their unemployment systems and roll-out the updated guidelines.