On Friday, August 21st, the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) was directed by Governor Tom Wolf to submit an application for President Trump’s temporary Lost Wages Assistance grant funds. The funds will be used to provide an additional $300 per week in supplemental payments to some Pennsylvanians receiving unemployment benefits.
Last week, Governor Wold sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation in support of an extension of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program that ended on July 25th. With Senate Republicans failing to pass a bill continuing FPUC, President Trump on August 8 authorized the Lost Wages Assistance plan.
Prsident Trumps’s plan is funded by $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is intended for storm disaster relief. Because of this distinction, payments to eligible workers will be delayed while states, including Pennsylvania, create a new computer system.
If approved, the grant funding will be used by the Department of L&I to provide an additional $300 per week in assistance payments to people receiving unemployment compensation benefits from COVID-19-related impacts.
To qualify for the extra $300, individuals must receive at least $100 per week in regular Unemployment Compensation (UC); Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Extended Benefits (EB); Short-Time Compensation (STC) or Shared Work; and Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) and must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Payments will be made to eligible claimants retroactively from August 1, 2020. The payment could end in a matter of weeks if FEMA funding is exhausted, or the federal government enacts a new law or extends FPUC to replace the Lost Wages Assistance payment. It will end no later than December 27, 2020.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to continue the FPUC government funded program, but the Senate has yet to approve its extension.
Click here to read Governor Wolf’s letter to delegates.