Delaware will apply for the Lost Wages Assistance Program through the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The funding will provide an additional $300 per week to claimants who are unemployed due to Covid-19-related reasons and are receiving at least $100 in unemployment benefits from the state.
The Lost Wage Assistance Program was established through a memorandum/executive order issued by President Donald Trump after Congress failed to reauthorize the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provided an extra $600 a week payment to eligible Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants.
To qualify for this new program, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by Covid-19.
Upon approval, the state would provide retroactive payments to eligible claimants from the date of August 1. The duration of the payment is dependent on the terms of the president’s memorandum. This funding could end in a matter of weeks or sooner unless Congress passes a new law. The additional benefit is scheduled to end no later than December 27.
According to the state labor department, one of the challenges with this new program is that states are being directed to pay these benefits through FEMA rather than the traditional unemployment sources.
States will have to establish new systems which work with existing unemployment processing to determine eligibility, a process that could take weeks to get into operation.
“While communication with our federal partners continues as we apply for this assistance, our various requests for greater flexibility have been rejected. Furthermore, with the stability of the funding source and overall legality of the President’s memorandum in question; it is unclear if or when the additional benefits will be available,” the Labor Department release stared.
The department vowed to work ith federal partners to get the program up and running,
“Until then, while there is an incredible public need for this assistance, there is no need for claimants to contact DEDOL regarding this program. We will provide more information once it becomes available, ” said Cerron Cade, Delaware Secretary of Labor.
DEDOL continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance, or for those that fall under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance eligibility guidelines, to file a claim online at ui.delawareworks.com and continue to certify the claim weekly.
The department continues to deal with a volume of claims that is well above traditional levels, with those laid off continuing to complain about the slowness of the process.