The Maine Department of Labor will be issuing the first round of retroactive $300 payments as part of the new federal Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) program tonight, Friday, September 11, 2020.
Benefits will be paid retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020. The first round of payments will include payments for the weeks ending August 1, August 8, and August 15, 2020.
The Department anticipates making payments for weeks ending August 22, August 29 and Sept. 5 next week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that each approved state will receive enough funds to cover six weeks, and then the program ends.
Individuals who do not need to take any action are:
- Those who are receiving state unemployment, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits and have already indicated that they are out of work due to COVID-19
- Individuals who are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
If the Department needs additional information from individuals, they will receive a letter in the mail and through their ReEmployME account correspondence tab. LWA is a FEMA program, and so has different eligibility requirements than unemployment programs. Responses to the LWA questions will not affect an individual’s eligibility for pandemic unemployment programs PEUC and PUA.
Guidance from FEMA states that individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:
- they are eligible for unemployment benefits
- they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
- they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.
Maine was approved by FEMA for LWA funding the night of August 25, which temporarily supplements the weekly unemployment benefits of eligible Mainers by $300.
“While we appreciate that temporary funds have been made available, we continue to hope that Congress will step up to provide comprehensive, long-term support to Maine people during these challenging times,” said Commissioner Laura Fortman said.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labor’s website: https://www.maine.