The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has informed the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) funding for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program payments will stop after the week ending Sept. 5, 2020.
FEMA funded LWA through a $44 billion grant. Once the agency depleted that funding, the program ended.
Eligible claimants will receive the additional $300 payment for the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and Sept. 5.
Also, unemployment claimants will again be required to complete weekly work searches beginning Sunday, Oct. 4.
Claimants who choose to continue receiving unemployment benefits will start work search activities during the week of Sunday, Sept. 27. They will then document those searches during their weekly certification for Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, and each week after that date.
Claimants who have a definitive return to work date due to a temporary layoff do not need to complete this requirement. Self-employed workers can fulfill the requirement by completing business improvement or enhancement activities.
Retroactive LWA payments will be delayed by two weeks or more after the week ending date because of the time involved in the approval process for funding, the eventual allocation of funding from FEMA, and then the time it takes the state to process payments.
Tennessee has applied for funding to cover payments for the weekend ending Aug. 29. Due to the nature of the LWA grant, payments for Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 will have a lag time. FEMA approves funding on a week-to-week basis after the state determines how many claimants are eligible to receive LWA that week.
Depending on when the state receives funding from FEMA, the additional benefit could be combined with a claimant’s weekly benefit payment or it could be deposited separately on a different date.
The LWA program is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020, and TDLWD automatically adds the $300 to the benefit payments for eligible claimants.
If a claimant was eligible for the first three weeks of August, they received a retroactive lump sum payment. Some claimants may have been eligible for all three weeks, others may not have been eligible.
To receive the additional LWA payment, a claimant must be out of work due to COVID-19, they must earn at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits, and they must complete their required weekly certifications.
Claimants who received a message last weekend asking them to confirm they are out of work due to COVID-19 cannot receive their LWA payments until they respond to the Department’s request and confirm that detail.
Unemployment benefits starting the week ending Sept. 12 will only contain the weekly benefit amount a claimant is eligible to receive through either a state or federal unemployment program.