Posted on September 10, 2020
Hartford – The Connecticut Dept. of Labor recently announced the federal approval of the Lost Wages Assistance program, which will provide a supplemental unemployment benefit to claimants that have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Those wishing to qualify for the benefit will need to self-certify through the state’s Dept. of Labor. To learn more about the program click here, or read more information below.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)
Connecticut has been approved for an additional two weeks of Lost Wages Assistance supplemental benefits and that claimant self-certification opened today. Lost Wages Assistance is the new federal program funded by $44 billion in Stafford Act disaster relief. It will provide an additional $300 per week for any claimant who has a weekly benefit of at least $100 (including the dependency allowance) and who has become unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19.
Existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have already self-certified and do not need to do anything to receive the additional benefit. New unemployment claimants and existing state and extended benefits claimants who are required to self-certify are notified by the Department. Self-certification is only required once for the duration of eligibility, it is not required weekly. CTDOL is testing certification by opening the screens in small batches to small numbers of people. Please note that no payments will be made until certification is out of testing and widely available. To self-certify:
Claimants log in to their unemployment account, where the account main page offers a new option in the menu ‘Certify for Lost Wages Assistance;’
Once a claimant has clicked on the button, a new screen will ask them to certify that their unemployment or underemployment is due to COVID-19;
The claimant then confirms their submission and has completed the process.
Federal eligibility guidelines include:
Recipients of at least $100 per week, including the dependency allowance, of any of the following benefits for the week they are seeking unemployment benefits;
Claimants receiving unemployment compensation including state and federal workers and former service members as well as those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Extended Benefits, or High Extended Benefits;
Claimants who are part of the Shared Work program, and;
Workers with a Trade Readjustment Allowance.
A total of five weeks of Lost Wages Assistance will be paid in addition to regular unemployment weekly benefits and will be retroactive to the claim week beginning July 26, 2020. It will also be available for claim weeks beginning August 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2020. Claimants will receive the supplemental benefit in several payments upon self-certification. The first payment of $300 is issued mid-September with the remainder of retroactive payments following in two or three separate payments.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will terminate the program once available federal funding is exhausted or if the federal government passes legislation that replaces the program. The program is expected to provide $375M additional unemployment benefits to Connecticut claimants.
The agency estimates that about 250,000 claimants will be eligible for funding. CTDOL will continue to release updates as they become available on the CTDOL Federal Supplements webpage and will send them directly to anyone who signs up for info to your inbox on the agency website.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC) $600 weekly supplemental expired on July 25, 2020. Connecticut is prohibited by law from continuing this program without federal re-authorization. All eligible applications for benefit weeks between March 29, 2020 and July 25, 2020 will include the $600 supplemental payment including any retroactive payments.