On Sept. 3, the Division of Employment Security began issuing payments for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) to eligible North Carolinians. Due to the large volume of payments to be processed, more people will receive LWA payments over the next several days.
LWA is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide $300 per week to supplement unemployment benefits for those who have an unemployment benefit amount of at least $100 a week and are out of work due to COVID-19.
DES expects initial funds to provide LWA for the benefit weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, 2020.
Additional funding for the program will be determined by FEMA on a weekly basis. DES will continue to apply for additional weeks of benefits as long as federal funding remains available and the program remains in place.
What is Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)?
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) is a federal FEMA program that provides an additional payment on top of weekly unemployment benefits for those who are eligible. To receive LWA, your unemployment benefit amount must be for at least $100 a week, and you must be out of work due to COVID-19.
Who is eligible for Lost Wages Assistance?
To receive the $300 in weekly Lost Wages Assistance, you must:
- Be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 for one of the following unemployment programs:
- State Unemployment Insurance (UI)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Extended Benefits (EB)
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
- Be unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Note: If you do not receive payment for a benefit week because you earned excessive wages, you will not be eligible to receive LWA for that week.
What do I have to do to apply for Lost Wages Assistance?
You do not have to file a separate claim or application for Lost Wages Assistance. However, you may need to self-certify whether you are unemployed due to COVID-19 for DES to determine your eligibility for LWA.
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If you need to self-certify, you will see a link on the Customer Menu page in your online account to ‘File Lost Wages Assistance Certification.’ If you do not see this link, you do not need to complete this certification.
When will I receive payment for Lost Wages Assistance?
On Sept. 3, the Division of Employment Security began issuing payments for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) to eligible North Carolinians. Due to the large volume of payments to be processed, more people will receive LWA payments in the coming days.
How long is Lost Wages Assistance available?
The length of the program will be determined by how long federal FEMA funds remain available for benefits.
States approved for Lost Wages Assistance initially receive funding that should cover three weeks of benefits. For North Carolina, these are the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.
Additional funding for the program will be determined by FEMA on a weekly basis. DES will continue to apply for additional benefits as long as funding remains available and the program remains in place.
How much FEMA funding is available to the states for LWA?
Up to $44 billion in the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund is currently designated for the program. FEMA will continue to provide funding to states until any of the following occurs:
- The $44 billion is expended from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF);
- The total DRF balance falls to $25 billion;
- Legislation is enacted that provides similar compensation; or
- Dec. 27, 2020, which is the end of the period of assistance for the grants.
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