NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has successfully processed $1.2 billion in FEMA payments, and eligible claimants can expect to receive this supplemental benefit as a lump-sum payment over the next two business days, depending on their bank.
FEMA Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) is a limited-time federal program that pays supplemental benefits to most workers unemployed during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. The benefit is $300 per week for up to six weeks, for a maximum payment of $1,800.
“Processing these payments required us to develop new programming that had not been tested previously, and it took longer than anticipated for the payments to go through. Our team worked around the clock to get this extra help to hundreds of thousands of people in our state who are in dire need because COVID-19 has upended their work situations.”
The Labor Department announced last week that 800,000-plus claimants were unemployed for at least part of the six-week period covered by the federal program, and would be eligible. Most had already declared their joblessness to be COVID-related, and thus were in line to receive the benefit automatically. Those who had not affirmed a COVID-related reason for their unemployment were required to provide an attestation by Oct. 16. Those claimants received emails, text messages and calls from the department with instructions.
Because this is a federal program, the New Jersey Labor Department has no control over whether additional funds will be released for another round of payments.
The Labor Department has received 1.7 million unemployment applications since mid-March, including 28,669* new claims for the week ending Oct. 17, a 1 percent decline from the prior week. Roughly 1.45 million applicants have met the monetary requirements for benefits, and 96 percent have received payment.
The Department has distributed $16.7 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic, including $256 million last week. Benefits to the average worker top $12,000.
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*This represents the final number for the week ending Oct. 17. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 27,652 – is based on advanced reporting.
Here is a look at the weekly payments made by the Labor Department to eligible claimants:
PUA, PEUC and FPUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits through the end of the year; maximum eligibility is 46 weeks. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Most of them are able to transition to 20 weeks of state Extended Benefits (EB). Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week to everyone eligible for unemployment for the weeks of April 4 through July 25.