OLYMPIA – The Employment Security Department (ESD) announced today that they will start processing the payments for the Lost Wages Assistance program Mon., Sept. 21. Eligible claimants will receive the money in their accounts as soon as their bank processes the payment from ESD, usually 2-3 days later.
Washington’s application for the short-term federal program was approved on Mon., Aug. 24, 2020. This will provide an additional $300 per week for a limited time to those who have lost work due to disruptions from COVID-19 and are receiving unemployment benefits.
“Any additional funds to help unemployed workers are welcome – and we estimate that this will provide more than $450 million to families, individuals and our state’s economy,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “It is important to emphasize however, that this benefit is currently time-limited to only a three-week period, between July 26 and Aug. 15, 2020, and not everyone who has filed an unemployment claim will be eligible. We continue to apply for additional weeks of funds and will do so as long as the money is available.”
Lost Wages Assistance is a temporary emergency measure to provide additional unemployment benefits to eligible claimants. It is not the same as the additional $600 per week that was available under the CARES Act, which expired at the end of July. Lost Wages Assistance has different requirements for eligibility and is drawn from a limited pool of money to be shared among all states that apply and are approved.
It was authorized through a Presidential Memorandum, signed on Aug. 8, 2020. The funds are retroactive to the unemployment benefit week ending Aug. 1, 2020.
Claimants who may be eligible to receive these benefits must certify they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Those who have not already done so will be alerted to answer a certification question in their eServices account starting Sept. 8, 2020, and they need to respond by Sept. 20, 2020 in order to receive the retroactive payments the week of Sept. 21. If a claimant prefers paper correspondence then instructions will be mailed.
More information about the process and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on ESD’s website at esd.wa.gov/LWA.