Here’s Every State Offering the Extra $300 Per Week in Unemployment

The $600-a-week unemployment insurance benefit courtesy of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act came to an end on July 31, 2020. 

But another form of relief is within reach, with help from the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. In early August 2020, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum giving the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) permission to spend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to cover wages lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ Read: How Should You Prepare For the End of the CARES Act? ]

But unlike the CARES Act unemployment benefits, the LWA program is an automatic slam-dunk for those who are jobless. Since it’s handled at the state level, the program requires states to actively apply for the money, which will be awarded in the form of grants. Many states have requested and received approval from FEMA. Others are already losing their funding.

“I feel this is down to a lack of demand, and with some states, [they are] declining it because they feel that they are able to manage without extra help at this current time,” said Andrew Roderick, CEO of Credit Repair Companies.

States that are paying out the extra unemployment benefits

States interested in LWA grants have until September 27, 2020, to submit their applications. The process requires states to submit a variety of forms, and the states must have FEMA-approved, self-certification processes in place, which ensure and certify that claimants’ weekly benefits are accurate and that their joblessness is a result of COVID-19. In other words, states need to make an all-out effort to apply and qualify for the program.

 More than 40 states have been approved for the funding, including:

AlabamaGeorgia MassachusettsNew MexicoTennessee
ArizonaIdaho MichiganNew York Texas
ArkansasIllinois Minnesota North CarolinaUtah
CaliforniaIndiana Mississippi OhioVermont
ColoradoIowa MissouriOklahomaVirginia
DelawareLouisiana New JerseyPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireSouth CarolinaWisconsin
HawaiiMaryland North DakotaRhode IslandWyoming

South Dakota is the lone holdout, having refused the grant. According to Governor Kristi Noem, the state doesn’t need the help because it never fully shut down, and the economy is improving.

After being approved, here are the states that announced the end of the $300 funding:

  • Utah
  • Iowa
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Texas
  • Montana
  • Lousiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee

The amount workers receive will depend on where they live

The LWA program is geared to provide a weekly $300 supplement to unemployed citizens until December 27, 2020, or when the funds run out, whichever comes first. States can also pay up to $400 if they want to kick in the extra $100 from their budgets. Those states that have been approved for the grants will receive an initial three weeks of funding. FEMA will then consider additional allocations on a weekly basis. So, approved states will pay either $300 or $400; states still waiting or haven’t applied won’t pay anything.

[ From Trent: 11 Family Finance Tips During the Pandemic ]

There are a couple of issues at play with the LWA program. First, states and territories must distribute the funds through their own unemployment insurance benefits system as supplemental payments. And second, individuals currently collecting disaster unemployment assistance aren’t eligible for the LWA program.

Also, states’ residents should expect unsteady rollouts. The Century Foundation pointed out that it could take weeks or months to deliver the payments, “which must be processed and financed separately from other unemployment benefits programs.”

So, individuals applying for the benefit should be sure where their states are in both the application and distribution process. Additionally, “they must understand that gathering all the relevant information together beforehand will help speed the application process,” says Roderick.

Here’s a list of more financial assistance unemployed workers might qualify for

If an individual’s state has not yet applied or been approved for the LWA program, other programs that might be helpful for those who are unemployed. 

  • Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA): assists by encouraging unemployed workers to start their own businesses. With this program, states encourage self-employment by paying a weekly allowance, rather than unemployment benefits. 
  • Financial assistance for military veterans through the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX): This program offers unemployment compensation benefits to individuals transitioning from military service to the civilian labor market.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Unemployed individuals could find that applying for SNAP and child nutrition programs is less cumbersome than in the past. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the program, provided waivers and shortened deadlines to ensure that food-insecure families will have access to what they need.

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Image Credit: Krizz Da Paul / Getty Images

Amy Sorter

Contributing Writer

Amy Sorter is a finance and real estate journalist with more than 20 years of experience. Her writing has been featured in The Business Journals and The Simple Dollar.

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  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar who leads our news and opinion coverage. She specializes in financial policy, banking, and investing.