Last week, FEMA approved funding for the North Carolina Division of Employment Security to provide $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance to eligible North Carolinians.
Federal funding for the program is limited but the unemployment office expects the initial funds to provide assistance for the benefit weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, 2020.
To receive Lost Wages Assistance, a person's unemployment benefit amount must be for at least $100 a week and they must be out of work due to COVID-19.
The exact timeline of when North Carolinians can expect to receive the benefits is unclear at this time, according to DES, but the department currently expects payments to begin next week.
Lost Wages Assistance is not an unemployment program, but rather a FEMA program that provides a supplemental payment on top of a person's weekly unemployment benefits.
Additional funding for the program will be determined by FEMA on a weekly basis.
North Carolina's unemployment office said it will continue to apply for additional weeks of benefits as long as funding remains available and the program remains in place.
Who is eligible for Lost Wages Assistance?
To receive the $300 in weekly Lost Wages Assistance, you must:
Be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 for one of the following unemployment programs:
Note: If you do not receive payment for a benefit week because you earned excessive wages, you will not be eligible to receive LWA for that week.
What do you have to do to apply for Lost Wages Assistance?
You do not have to file a separate claim or application for Lost Wages Assistance. However, you may need to self-certify whether you are unemployed due to COVID-19 for DES to determine your eligibility for LWA.
If you need to self-certify, you will see a link on the Customer Menu page in your online account to 'File Lost Wages Assistance Certification.' If you do not see this link, you do not need to complete this certification.
How long is Lost Wages Assistance available?
The length of the program will be determined by how long federal FEMA funds remain available for benefits.
States approved for Lost Wages Assistance initially receive funding that should cover three weeks of benefits. For North Carolina, these are the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.
Additional funding for the program will be determined by FEMA on a weekly basis. DES will continue to apply for additional benefits as long as funding remains available and the program remains in place.