WorkForce West Virginia receives FEMA grant approval, launches Lost Wages Assistance Program for unemployed West Virginians


CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice and WorkForce West Virginia announced that the state is activating the Lost Wages Assistance Program to provide additional benefits to unemployed West Virginians. The state received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its application for Lost Wages Assistance grant funding.
 
“The pandemic and economic slowdown have caused hardships for many of our fellow West Virginians,” said Gov. Justice. “We are moving as quick as we can to give some relief to our people whose incomes have been hard hit.”
 
The Lost Wages Assistance Program will cover $300 of the new weekly payment and the other $100 will come from West Virginia’s allocation of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. That is in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from certain other Unemployment Compensation programs.
 
The program will allow WorkForce West Virginia to provide an additional $400 per week in assistance payment to those receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits due to COVID-related impacts.
 
“Under Gov. Justice’s leadership, we are making carrying out this program a priority,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “WorkForce wants people to understand that the additional Lost Wages Assistance payment will be automatically added to the weekly benefit amount they are already receiving. They do not need to file a separate application to get the Lost Wages Assistance payment.”
 
On Aug. 8, 2020, President Donald Trump issued the Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019. The memorandum established Lost Wages Assistance, which allows for temporary enhanced financial support to those whose jobs or wages have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
 
Lost Wages Assistance provides $300 per week to an eligible individual, in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from certain other Unemployment Compensation programs.
 
To qualify for this additional funding, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
 
The first week for which the Lost Wages Assistance payment will be available is UI benefit week ending August 1. WorkForce West Virginia will provide retroactive payments to eligible claimants from that week forward. The duration of payment is dependent on the terms of the President’s Memorandum. The payment could end in a matter of weeks, if FEMA funding is exhausted or the federal government enacts new law, similar to the recently expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, to supplant the Lost Wages Assistance payment. It will end no later than December 27, 2020.
 
Lost Wages Assistance remains in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • Enactment of federal legislation providing, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental Federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals
  • The $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund designated for LWA is exhausted
  • The Federal Disaster Relief Fund Balance reaches $25 billion
  • The benefit week ending December 5, 2020 is reached

  
WorkForce West Virginia continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for UI to file a claim online at www.workforcewv.org. The site includes information about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions are also encouraged to visit www.workforcewv.org. A variety of information for both West Virginia workers and employers is available including resources to help claimants navigate the unemployment process.

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