Missouri to Release Lost Wages Assistance Benefits to Unemployed Workers
Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s) Division of Employment Security (DES) announced today that it is working as expeditiously as possible to issue Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) benefit payments to unemployed workers as early as later this week.
Missouri was granted initial funding for the LWA program and will be paying eligible recipients an additional $300 per week retroactively to the week ending August 1, 2020. “Many families across our state are in great need during this time, and we are doing all we can to deliver the extra federal assistance provided by the President’s Executive Order to Missourians as soon as possible,” commented Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “In fact, Missouri was one of the very first states to apply for and receive over $200 million in this latest round of federal funding, allowing us to nearly double Missouri’s maximum weekly benefit payment of $320.”
“While providing this tremendous increase to unemployed workers, we are also taking seriously our responsibility to fund other critical needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Parson continued. “Missouri’s budget has taken a substantial hit in recent months, requiring us to carefully target every remaining dollar of our federal emergency assistance funds to support first responders, purchase protective equipment and testing supplies for healthcare workers, and to support teachers and students as they return to school.”
In order to receive an LWA benefit payment, an individual must be eligible to receive at least $100 in unemployment benefits per week, and the individual must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who self-certified when they filed their initial claim and are eligible for an LWA benefit payment do not need to take any action because the state will automatically add the $300 to their weekly benefit amount.
Individuals who did not indicate they were unemployed due to COVID-19 and meet the other eligibility requirements will receive either e-mail or mailed correspondence from the DES by the end of next week on their potential eligibility for the LWA program.
As the DES will be processing retroactive payments separately due to the volume of items, eligible individuals should not expect to receive all their retroactive payments on the same day. The first retroactive payment should be issued by the end of this week and all others by the latter part of next week.
The LWA is funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. The President issued an Executive Order on August 8, 2020, directing FEMA, with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, to administer the LWA program.
The LWA program will continue until the earlier of:
1) FEMA expends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), or
2) the total unobligated balance of the DRF decreases to $25 billion, or
3) legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or underemployed individuals; or
4) December 27, 2020, which is the end of the period of performance for the grant.