The Labor Department released guidance Wednesday to help states implement the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, issued by President Donald Trump on Aug. 8.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee, argued Thursday, however, that Labor’s new guidance “leaves many unanswered questions,” and that Trump’s “unworkable executive order has states tied up in knots.”
Labor notes in its guidance that the lost wages program is authorized by a Presidential Memorandum. It provides claimants in most Unemployment Insurance programs with up to $400 per week of additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1 and concluding on Dec. 27 at the latest.
The LWA will be administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and with support from Labor.
To qualify for LWA benefits, individuals must provide self-certification they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Also, the state where an individual lives must confirm that this person is receiving at least $100 of underlying unemployment benefits, Labor explains.
LWA is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through a joint federal-state agreement and provides the states with two benefit options.