Eligible Pennsylvanians can apply as soon as possible for up to six weeks of assistance through the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA), which provides up to $300 a week extra in additional funds to individuals that are unemployed or partially unemployed because of COVID-19.
“We encourage eligible claimants who are partially or fully unemployed due to COVID-19 who have not yet applied for LWA benefits to do so right away,” said Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “The department will continue making these payments until the program funding we’ve already received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is depleted.”
FEMA announced last week that its funding had been depleted and it would be unable to provide additional funding to states to continue the program beyond the week ending Saturday, Sept. 5. L&I has received approximately $2.8 billion from FEMA for the six weeks of the program. Because FEMA will not be providing any more funding, L&I will be unable to approve claims after this funding is depleted, even if more applicants are qualified.
FEMA initially approved three claim weeks ending on Aug. 1, 8 and 15. Three additional weeks have also been approved: Aug. 22 and 29, and Sept. 5.
LWA payments will be paid in one lump sum to eligible claimants as long as the underlying benefit payment has already been made for those weeks. Payment for claims began Monday, Sept. 14, and will continue until funding is depleted or until FEMA announces an end date to the program.
Individuals who may be eligible for LWA but have not yet received payment for an approved week from a qualifying program should still apply as soon as possible. At the time benefits are paid from a qualifying program to an individual for any of the approved dates, the LWA payment will follow one week later if the individual has already completed the LWA certification.
As a reminder, to qualify for the extra $300, the LWA program requires that eligible individuals must have a benefit rate and dependence allowance totaling $100 or more per week in benefits, and must receive a benefit payment for each week from one of the following qualifying programs:
– Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC)
– Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
– Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
– Pennsylvania Extended Benefits (EB)
– Shared Work or Short-Time Compensation (STC)
– Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
Individuals receiving benefits from these programs – with the exception of PUA and Shared Work – will need to apply for LWA by certifying one time only that their unemployment is due to COVID-19.
Applicants with computer and internet access should apply for the LWA benefits online. The online application will become available when applicants apply for biweekly claims. Log in as you normally would, when you normally would, to access the application.
Claimants who need to complete the certification process should:
– Visit uc.pa.gov/cert and log in using your PIN as if you are filing a biweekly claim
– Select the “Complete LWA Certification” button and fill out the certification
– Complete this certification only one time
Applications are also available for individuals who cannot apply online. Last week, UC began mailing applications to claimants who did not provide their email address.
For updates, visit uc.pa.gov