Despite payment of the $300 LWA weekly benefit across several states, many eligible claimants are still finding that they have yet to receive their funds or that they only received partial payments. This is despite funding for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program having already run out and capped at 6 weeks for most states, well before the end of the original December expiry. Another point of frustration (and confusion) is that people in the same state are getting paid on different schedules based on the program they are currently receiving unemployment benefits under. Further it has been a challenge to get clear answers from their local state unemployment agencies and websites which were already swamped trying to make the payments under existing enhanced unemployment benefit programs (PUA, PEUC, EB)! So hopefully the information below will help answer some of your LWA queries on why your payments have stopped, delayed or not coming at all. Feel free to leave or review comments for any further questions.
Has my state exhausted benefits?
FEMA has confirmed that they have budgeted 6 weeks of funding ($1800 to $2400) for states that apply to all weeks of the program. Based on the tracker below, states that have already exhausted their funding were among the first to receive approvals from FEMA. Those states include: Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Mexico.
Note some states like Florida have said they will only be paying 4 weeks of benefits (despite FEMA budget for 6 weeks) due to one of the program’s requirements which requires that at least a quarter of the program’s recipients receive an additional $100 in state jobless aid. Because Florida doesn’t have enough workers who earn at least $100 in state unemployment aid to qualify the FL DEO has said they won’t be applying for the remaining 2 weeks of LWA funding available.
Meeting the $100 minimum existing UI threshold
The LWA unemployment benefit requires claimants to be getting at least $100 of UI benefits (on a pre-tax basis) from existing state or federal unemployment programs. This minimum requirement is required for every single week the LWA program is in effect, which covers the weeks ending August 1st to September 5th. You will only get the extra $300 (or $400 in some select states) for the weeks you have certified and received over $100 in UI for existing programs.
States are requiring claimants to self-certify that they are eligible for the $300 extra payment because they were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So make sure you complete this once you get notified by your state unemployment agency (or check your UI portal). If you are getting PUA unemployment, then this certification is already covered since that program required this certification in the first place.
Note – You will just need to certify once per LWA claim. There is no requirement for weekly LWA self-certifications. You should however continue to file your regular weekly claim certifications to receive your unemployment benefits along with any applicable LWA payments. You will need to call your state UI if you need to adjust your certification for past weeks (required to get LWA retroactive payments) if this cannot be done through your states UI portal.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) vs Regular Unemployment Driving Payment Dates
All state UI agencies had to implement PUA (and PEUC) programs earlier this year as part of the CARES act stimulus bill, which was generally done via separate systems or applications relative to their traditional UI systems already in place. In an unintended twist, the use of different systems has also meant that the LWA payment schedule for PUA recipients could also be different to those on regular unemployment because PUA claimants were not on traditional UI systems. In fact in many states, because the PUA systems were designed more recently LWA was able to be provided to PUA claimants more quickly than legacy systems used to deliver traditional unemployment benefits. For example in Ohio, PUA claimants began receiving retroactive LWA payments the week of September 16, 2020. Those on regular UI won’t start getting payments till late September.
Retroactive Remaining LWA Back Payments May Arrive in Batches
Because FEMA only initially awarded three weeks of funding – covering the weeks of August 1st, 8th and August 15th – many states only paid those first payments (one at a time or in a $900 lump sum) in the first round of LWA disbursements. Subsequent weeks required FEMA approval so were paid based on that and when states got the funds. Given the last week of funding for this program in many states was the week ending September 5th (paid the following week), some states who started paying early (e.g Texas, Arizona and Maryland) have already made the full $1800 payment to some claimants.
As a reminder here are the weeks (week ending) for states which have received the full 6 weeks of FEMA funding
- August 1
- August 8
- August 15
- August 22
- August 29
- September 5
Bank Account or Debit Card Processing Delays
While the state tracker below shows the first payment date for LWA benefits, it may take several days to get these in your bank account or debit card. Like with traditional UI and PUA benefits, after a payment has been released, it typically appears in your bank account or on your debit card in 1-2 business days. If you find its been more than 5 days, then contact your local state UI office.
This recently happened in New York (see update below table) where NY DOL confirmed they had released nearly $2 billion in LWA funds, but their payment processor – KeyBank – was unable to process payments that caused a 3 day delay in payments much to the angst of may NewYorkers whose UI portal showed payments had been made.
LWA less than what I expected
A common question is people seeing less than the $300 for a given week they got the payment. The main reason for this is that the $300 LWA payment is taxable. So if you were getting your existing UI taxed, then so will the LWA payment.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) State Payment Date and Status
|State||LWA Status||Start Date||Max Weeks||Weekly Amount|
|Alabama||Paying Now||Sep 6th||6||$300|
|Mid to late October|
(see estimate details)
|Arizona||Paying Now||Aug 17th||6||$300|
|Arkansas||Paying Now||Sep 12 (up to Oct 2nd)||6||$300|
|California||Paying Now||Sep 7th (Phase 1)|
Sep 15th (Phase 2)
|Colorado||Paying Now||Sep 18th (first 3 wk batch)|
Sep 25th (second 3wk batch)
|Connecticut||Paying Now||Sep 17th||5||$300|
|Delaware||Paying Now||Sep 18th||6||$300|
|District of Columbia||Paying Now||From Sep 28th (paying wks 1 to 4)|
From Oct 5th (paying wks 5 and 6)
|Florida||Paying Now||Sep 8th||4||$300|
|Georgia||Paying Now||Sep 12th||6||$300|
|Hawaii||Paying Now||Sep 23rd |
|Idaho||Paying Now||Sep 12th||6||$300|
|Illinois||Paying Now||Sep 8th||6||$300|
|Indiana||Paying Now||Week of Sep 21st||6||$300|
|Iowa||Paying Now||Sep 9th||6||$300|
|Kansas||Paying Now||From Oct 6th |
|Kentucky||Paying Now||Sep 15th||6||$400|
|Louisiana||Paying Now||Aug 27th||6||$300|
|Maine||Paying Now||Sep 12th||6||$300|
|Maryland||Paying Now||Sep 12th (schedule)||6||$300|
|Massachusetts||Paying Now||Sep 7th||6||$300|
|Michigan||Paying Now||Sep 10th||6||$300|
|Minnesota||Paying Now||Sep 4th||6||$300|
|Mississippi||Paying Now||Sep 10th||6||$300|
|Missouri||Paying Now||Aug 23rd||6||$300|
|Montana||Paying Now||Aug 30th||6||$400|
|Nebraska||Paying Now||Sep 18th (First 3 weeks)|
From Sep 20th (remaining payments)
|Nevada||Payment Pending||Mid to Late October |
(see DETR comment)
|New Hampshire||Paying Now||Sep 12th||6||$300|
|New Jersey||Paying Now||From October 19th |
(see payment details)
|New Mexico||Paying Now||Sep 10th||6||$300|
|New York||Paying Now||Sep 14th||6||$300|
|North Carolina||Paying Now||Sep 6th (4 weeks)|
Sep 16th (2 weeks)
|North Dakota||Paying Now||Sep 17th||6||$300|
|Ohio||Paying Now||From Sep 14th (on PUA)|
From Sep 20th (others)
|Oklahoma||Paying Now||Sep 23rd||6||$300|
|Oregon||Paying Now||October 2nd||6||$300|
|Pennsylvania||Paying Now||Sep 17th (first 3 wk batch)|
Sep 24th (second 3wk batch)
|Rhode Island||Paying Now||Sep 6th||6||$300|
|South Carolina||Paying Now (by check)||Sep 25th (7 to 14 days processing)||6||$300|
|South Dakota||No Payment||Did not enroll||6||-|
|Tennessee||Paying Now||Aug 30th||6||$300|
|Texas||Paying Now||Aug 23rd||6||$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||6||$300|
|Virginia||Paying Now||Oct 19th|
(1 to 3 days to payout - see details)
|Washington||Paying Now||Sep 22nd||6||$300|
|West Virginia||Paying Now||Sep 16th||6||$400
|Wisconsin||Payment Pending||End of October||6||$300|
|Wyoming||Paying Now||Sep 13th||6||$300|
The LWA state tracker table was last updated on October 19th. Payment Start date is when the state actually started processing current and/or retroactive UI 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. Where a state has started paying benefits, you will see the LWA Status column updated to "Paying Now." 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.
New York (NY) LWA payment update
As of September 18th, a lot of NY readers are posting comments that their first batch of LWA payments (which was due to be paid on Sep 15th according to the NY DOL) has not yet hit their bank accounts. The NY DOL has posted on twitter, “The first round of LWA payments has been released for those who were pre-qualified and those who certified by 5 pm on 9/15. After certifying, payments will be released in 1-2 business days if you are eligible”
NY DOL confirmed they have released ~$1.9 billion in LWA funds to 2.26 million NYers. But looks like an issue with their processor – KeyBank. Despite assurances their system could handle the load, KeyBank was unable to process payments overnight on 9/17.
KeyBank has said payments have been processed & will reach bank accounts by 4:30PM on Sep 18th at the latest. Which was the case for a lot of people, however per a recent tweet at 9pm on Sep 18th, it looks like payment delays will continue for many others and may take till Monday Sep 21st for people to see their LWA money! Disappointing news indeed.
Update: Second Round of Payments will be processed by the NY DOL as follows:
• Tue. 9/22: $300 payments for benefit week ending 8/23
• Wed. 9/23: $300 payments for benefit week ending 8/30
• Thu. 9/24: $300 payments for benefit week ending 9/6