FEMA recently approved New York State’s application for the Lost Wages Assistance Program, enabling the state to pay an additional $300 per week on top of ongoing unemployment benefits, for qualified individuals. The $300 supplemental assistance replaces the $600 per week that many unemployed New Yorkers received under the CARES Act, until the supplement expired at the end of July. The new funding will allow New York and other approved states to provide the supplemental $300 per week to individuals receiving at least $100 per week in unemployment insurance compensation from any of the following programs: state or federal unemployment compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Extended Benefits (EB), Short-Time Compensation (STC), Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), and Payments under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program.
According to FEMA guidance, once the program is implemented in New York, the supplemental $300 payments will be paid retroactively to the benefit week ending August 2nd. However, we do not know when New York will be able to begin paying the $300 to qualified individuals. Most states granted the funding for the Lost Wages Assistance Program say that it could take until at least mid-September to reprogram computer systems and take other steps to begin paying recipients the additional $300 weekly benefit.
We also do not know how long the $300 supplemental benefit will last. President Trump’s executive order stated that the program would run through December 2020. However, FEMA estimates that the funding, which comes from FEMA’s disaster relief fund, could run out of money in as little as 3 weeks.