Governor Ron DeSantis today announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will submit Florida’s application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program.
This program, authorized by a memorandum from President Trump, provides additional temporary benefits for individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance for weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020.
“On behalf of Floridians who are continuing to face challenges finding employment, I would like to thank President Trump for providing additional funding while they get back on their feet,” said Governor DeSantis.“We appreciate the opportunity to provide this temporary assistance through the Lost Wages Assistance program.”
Pending federal approval, this will allow Florida to offer an additional $300 per week to eligible Reemployment Assistance claimants. To be eligible for this benefit, claimants must be currently receiving at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program weekly benefit amount and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Pending approval of Florida’s application, payments will be retroactive to August 1, 2020.
Floridians who are currently receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits, are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are currently receiving at least $100 per week in Reemployment Assistance benefits will be eligible to receive the additional $300 benefits from the LWA funds funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This includes individuals receiving:
- State Reemployment Assistance, including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX);
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
- Extended Benefits (EB);
- Short-Time Compensation (STC);
- Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA); and
- Payments under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program.
The LWA program will be administered similarly to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. No additional application will be necessary. Eligible Floridians who are currently receiving Reemployment Assistance will receive their LWA benefits the same week they receive their weekly Reemployment Assistance benefits. DEO highly recommends that Reemployment Assistance claimants select direct deposit as their means of receiving benefits to ensure payments are received as quickly as possible.
Funding for this program comes from FEMA disaster relief funds. Guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that states should be able to receive approximately three weeks’ worth of benefits upon approval, with additional weekly approval being granted on a weekly basis, depending on the remaining balance of the fund. However, funding could end at any time, and is contingent upon a required state match based on state re-employment assistance paid out during the period.
DEO is currently preparing to implement the LWA program to ensure eligible Floridians receive the additional benefits as quickly as possible.