The New York State Department of Labor announced last week that payments for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, which provides an additional $300 in weekly benefits to unemployed New Yorkers, will begin next week. Up to 2.4 million New Yorkers are eligible for the program, including 435,000 who must submit an additional certification to qualify.
During the pandemic emergency, New York State has paid $43.7 billion in unemployment benefits to 3.5 million New Yorkers, representing over 20 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just six months.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released funding for the first three weeks of LWA benefits to New York State, covering the benefit weeks ending Aug. 2, Aug. 9, and Aug. 16. The DOL estimates that up to 2.4 million New Yorkers may be eligible for the benefits from those weeks, including recipients of both traditional unemployment insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Approximately 2 million New Yorkers are pre-qualified and will receive payments starting next week. The remainder – roughly 435,000 New Yorkers – must submit an additional certification to qualify.
Of the estimated 2.4 million New Yorkers who may be eligible:
Approximately 2 million are already qualified for the LWA program because they indicated on their initial benefit application that their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These claimants don’t need to take any further action and will receive the payments starting next week.
Roughly 435,000 need to submit an additional certification confirming that their unemployment is related to COVID-19 to qualify for LWA benefits, as required by the federal government. These claimants can certify immediately either online or by calling 1-833-491-0632 to certify. Claimants will receive payments starting next week if their certification is submitted by 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 – after that, payments will be released on a rolling basis.
Eligible New Yorkers will receive LWA payments of $300 per week for the weeks ending Aug. 2, Aug. 9, and Aug. 16. Under federal rules, New York State may be eligible for additional weeks of LWA funding.
According to FEMA, funding for the LWA program will continue until any of the following occur: The federal Disaster Relief Fund balance falls below $25 billion; the $44 billion set aside for the LWA program is depleted; Congress enacts a replacement unemployment relief program; or if none of the above scenarios occur before Dec. 27, 2020, funding will terminate on that date.