The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) confirmed today (Sept. 11) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ended the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) grant (the additional $300 per week payment) effective Sept. 5.

According to media reports, FEMA announced Thursday Sept. 10, that funding for the program, created by executive order, has been depleted with eligible claimants getting six weeks of payments.

Louisiana was one of the first states approved for the program, which had a stricter criteria than the CARES Act-funded $600 weekly enhanced benefits that expired in July. In order to get LWA, a claimant had to be out of work as a direct result of the pandemic. Claimants also had to be receiving at least $100 in unemployment, a move that locked out tens of thousands of workers in Louisiana.

Louisiana was able to expand the number of workers eligible for the payments by giving unemployment claimants receiving at $100 in benefits but whose had not indicated COVID-19 as the reason for their continued unemployment the opportunity to update their claims. LWC has received funding for the week ending Aug. 29, on Sept. 11, and will begin processing immediately. 

Eligible claimants can only be paid after funds are sent to the state by FEMA. The LWC has requested funding for week ending Sept. 5.

The end of the Lost Wages Assistance program will likely leave unemployed workers across the state and nation in a quandary as Congress has once again failed approve an additional stimulus package, including enhanced unemployment benefits, for millions of Americans who are out of work or have had their hours reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has paid qualified claimants who have certified $376 million from Aug. 26, to Sept. 11, As it pertains to LWA claimants, Aug. 1 through Aug. 22, 92 percents of claims have been paid. 

LWA payments may not process at the same time as other unemployment compensation. This is because LWA is not drawn down from state funds.

Individuals need to continue filing their weekly certifications in order to receive unemployment compensation. Outside of this, individuals do not need to do anything in order to receive LWA.

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