Situation Report | September 21, 2020
On Friday, September 18, the state Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will distribute three more weeks of the $300 federal unemployment benefit before the aid is discontinued. This aid will be the final round of payments made under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.
Last week, HCA reported that three weeks of benefit payments have been retroactively released to over 2 million eligible New Yorkers. All told, the two aid announcements (as reported last week and this week) cover six weeks ending August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and September 6.
The aid is paid in addition to regular state unemployment benefits. To be eligible for the LWA program, according to federal regulations, an individual’s unemployment must be related to COVID-19.
The aid stems from $44 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding made available to states for disaster relief efforts. President Trump approved the aid in an Executive Order in August following the expiration of the federal $600 per week unemployment benefit. To date, over $35 billion has been distributed.
It remains uncertain if the benefit will continue or be included in a relief package in the future, as Congressional negotiations remain stalled. HCA will keep members updated as more information becomes available.