DWD is retroactively sending out an additional $300 per week to about 220,000 eligible claimants as part of the Lost Wages Assistance program.
DWD started sending payments on Thursday and will continue making payments over the next week. The LWA benefit payments are estimated to result in another $224 million in the hands of Wisconsinites.
President Trump launched the program Aug. 8 after Congress and the White House couldn’t reach an agreement on the next round of stimulus spending, including additional unemployment benefits. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Wisconsin for the LWA program on Sept. 1.
“Staff at DWD have worked diligently to program a complex program that will get additional unemployment insurance dollars into the hands of out-of-work Wisconsinites,” DWD Deputy Secretary Robert Cherry said.
But both he and interim DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek added the program falls far short of what’s needed for people who have had their employment affected by the pandemic.
“In Wisconsin, we will continue to look at ways to help individuals during this difficult time,” Cherry said.
Eligible claimants have to certify they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 and that their weekly benefit rate is at least $100 from unemployment-related assistance programs.
Payments from the LWA program will be made retroactively for up to six weeks: the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5. FEMA will not fund any weeks after Sept. 5.
If unemployment claims for those weeks are pending due to an issue DWD is investigating, the issues must first be resolved and unemployment benefits paid. If LWA funds are still available, DWD also will pay recipients the extra $300 for those weeks. FEMA is allowing states time to resolve these claims.