WorkForce West Virginia launches Lost Wages Assistance Program for unemployed West Virginians

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Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Additional relief is on the way for unemployed West Virginians, according to WorkForce West Virginia and Gov. Jim Justice.

Monday officials announced the state is activating the Lost Wages Assistance Program after receiving approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its application.

The program will allow WorkForce West Virginia to provide an additional $400 per week in assistance payment to those receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits due to COVID-related impacts.

The Lost Wages Assistance Program will cover $300 of the new weekly payment and the other $100 will come from West Virginia’s allocation of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. That is in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from certain other Unemployment Compensation programs.

“Under Gov. Justice’s leadership, we are making carrying out this program a priority,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “WorkForce wants people to understand that the additional Lost Wages Assistance payment will be automatically added to the weekly benefit amount they are already receiving. They do not need to file a separate application to get the Lost Wages Assistance payment.”

On Aug. 8, 2020, President Donald Trump issued the Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease.

The duration of payment is dependent on the terms of the President’s Memorandum. The payment could end in a matter of weeks, if FEMA funding is exhausted or the federal government enacts new law, similar to the recently expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, to supplant the Lost Wages Assistance payment. It will end no later than December 27, 2020. Lost Wages Assistance remains in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • Enactment of federal legislation providing, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental Federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals
  • The $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund designated for LWA is exhausted
  • The Federal Disaster Relief Fund Balance reaches $25 billion
  • The benefit week ending December 5, 2020 is reached

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