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By Julia GlumKenadi Silcox and Brad Tuttle
Updated: September 23, 2020 2:48 PM ET | Originally published: August 31, 2020
US President Donald Trump signs executive orders extending coronavirus economic relief, during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2020.
US President Donald Trump signs executive orders extending coronavirus economic relief, during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2020.
Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has been a disaster on many levels. Now, the federal agency in charge with disaster relief — FEMA — is being used to steer more funding to unemployed Americans all over the country. The takeaway is that people could be getting an extra $300 weekly in unemployment benefits very soon, if they haven’t begun receiving it already.

Congress allowed several coronavirus relief measures to expire in July, cutting off a lifeline for millions of Americans who had been receiving an extra $600 per week in unemployment payments. While some new relief is on the way, be warned that the latest payments are less generous than the original plan — the new benefits are capped at $300 per week from the federal government. What’s more, the special new payments aren’t available in every state. It’s also sometimes unclear when, exactly, the added unemployment payments will be sent out to people struggling to pay their bills.

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Roughly a week after the $600 payments expired at the end of July, President Donald Trump issued an order authorizing FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to work with the states and pay up to $300 per week in extra unemployment benefits to eligible recipients. The extra $300 payments were approved for only three weeks, retroactive to the week beginning August 1, though officials have said the program could be extended.

It has been up to each state to apply through FEMA for the program, dubbed LWA (Lost Wages Assistance). As of September 2, 45 states had applied and been approved. Some states have already begun sending out the extra $300 payments to eligible unemployed residents. Many other states say that it could take a couple weeks, or even longer, before they can incorporate the FEMA funds and send payments out. Still other states are still in the process of applying, or perhaps have so far decided to skip the program entirely.

(Since we first published this story, several states have already exhausted their allotment of $300 extra weekly unemployment from the federal government. It was reported that as of September 17, the special payments had run out in seven states.)

Initially, the White House suggested that federal funds would be used for extra $300 weekly payments, and that the states themselves would add another $100 — for a total of $400 per week. But most states say they are already struggling with tight budgets as they cope with they pandemic and its fallout, and they cannot afford to chip in the extra $100. As a result, most recipients will be getting just the extra $300, on top of whatever unemployment payment they’re already eligible for in their state.

Generally speaking, here are the rules concerning eligibility for the extra unemployment payments provided by FEMA and the states:

• You must be eligible for unemployment benefits during the first three weeks of August 2020.

• Your weekly unemployment benefit must be at least $100 per week.

• You must have become unemployed or seen your hours reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Get Extra $300 Unemployment Payments

For the most part, it looks like recipients do not need to do anything special to get their extra $300 in unemployment benefits. For example, Minnesota states explicitly: “Applicants do not have to do anything extra to receive LWA payments.”

However, some states are a little vague on the particulars. Below, in our state-by-state guide, we’ve marked as “unclear” the states that have not clearly said on their unemployment website if a recipient needs to do anything in order to receive the extra $300.

Our advice is to read the fine print of your state’s unemployment benefits’ webpage (we’ve provided links to key pages below), and follow their instructions, to make sure you are getting the most money possible. If you are already receiving unemployment, you should absolutely continue to do the same paperwork and file claims like usual.

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Lost Wages Assistance Extra Unemployment Payments: State by State

What states have been approved for the extra $300 weekly unemployment payments? When can recipients expect their money? Here’s everything you need to know.

Alabama

Alabama was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Any day now. On Aug. 22, the department of labor tweeted that “we anticipate payments going out within the next two weeks, possibly sooner.”

Where to find more information: https://labor.alabama.gov/unemployment.aspx

Alaska

Alaska was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 23. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Funds may not be distributed until mid-October.

Where to find more information: https://labor.alaska.gov/COVID-19-SOA.htm

Arizona

Arizona was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 15. It was one of the first states to get the OK to provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No, just continue to file weekly as usual.

When will the money go out? The payments started appearing in Arizonans’ accounts on Aug. 17.

Where to find more information: https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual

Arkansas

Arkansas was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 25. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Not anytime soon. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said the state’s system needs to be tweaked to accommodate the lost wages program, so payments could be “weeks away,” according to local TV affiliate KARK.

Where to find more information: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment

California

California was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 22. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No, but they may get a text message, email or paper in the mail asking them to self-certify if they were unemployed due to the pandemic.

When will the money go out? California’s Employment Development Department will start processing payments Sept. 7. There will be two phases. The first covers people who previously showed they were unemployed due to the coronavirus and got unemployment checks between July 26 and Aug. 15. The second involves people “who did not have the opportunity to indicate they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason on their initial application” but still receive a minimum of $100 in weekly unemployment benefits.”

Where to find more information: https://edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/news-20-42.pdf

Colorado

Colorado was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 16. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? “Mid- to late September,” according to a news release.

Where to find more information: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment

Connecticut

Connecticut was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 24. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? They’ll have to re-certify that they’re eligible under the federal rules. The state will mail out letters to claimants about this.

When will the money go out? Mid-September, as “the program requires states to establish an entirely new process for claimants to access the FEMA funding,” according to a news release.

Where to find more information: https://portal.ct.gov/dolui

Delaware

Delaware was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 2. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Unclear, but probably not for at least a few weeks. Cerron Cade, Delaware’s Secretary of Labor, said in a news release that the lost wages program is “unnecessarily complicated and will be a nightmare to implement quickly.” He also said that the state would have to “establish new systems which must interface with our existing unemployment rolls to determine eligibility,” and that “could take weeks to get operational.”

Where to find more information: https://dol.delaware.gov/uifaqs

Florida

Florida was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 29. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear. According to a news release, the department of economic opportunity “is currently preparing to implement the LWA program to ensure eligible Floridians receive the additional benefits as quickly as possible.”

Where to find more information: https://connect.myflorida.com

Georgia

Georgia was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 23. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Three to four weeks, according to WSB-TV. Georgia’s labor commissioner, Mark Butler, said leaders are working to “deliver a system meeting the new FEMA guidelines to process these weekly supplements as quickly as possible.”

Where to find more information: https://dol.georgia.gov

Hawaii

Hawaii was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 29. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Unclear. Anne Eustaquio, acting director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, said in a news release that the state, “has already begun working to build a new program within the unemployment computer system to implement and pay LWA benefits” in an attempt to “complete this process as quickly as possible.”

Where to find more information: https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui

Idaho

Idaho was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 19. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? The week of Aug. 30.

Where to find more information: https://labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benefits/Lost-Wages-Assistance

Illinois

Illinois was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 1. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/default.aspx

Indiana

Indiana was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No, just continue to file a weekly voucher and meet eligibility requirements.

When will the money go out? Within the next three to four weeks.

Where to find more information: https://www.in.gov/dwd/3474.htm

Iowa

Iowa was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 15. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Unclear. The Iowa workforce development website says it’ll update “as additional information becomes available, including timelines for application and payment.”

Where to find more information: https://governor.iowa.gov/press-release/iowa%E2%80%99s-application-for-lost-wages-assistance-funds-approved-by-fema

Kansas

Kansas was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 7. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Kansas officials have said that the implementation of the extra unemployment benefit payments “will take several weeks to execute” after federal approval has been granted.

Where to find more information: https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx

Kentucky

Kentucky was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. Kentucky is offering the full $400 ($300 from feds, $100 from the state).

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? “Sometime in early September,” according to a news release from the governor.

Where to find more information: https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=GovernorBeshear&prId=323

Louisiana

Louisiana was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 15. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? For most people, no. But the Louisiana Workforce Commission may reach out via email to additional eligible people. And it’s up to you to respond: “Additionally, 20,000 unemployment insurance claimants could qualify for LWA. These claimants may have had their employment disrupted by COVID-19. This week, these individuals will receive an email from the LWC to update their claim information. No additional action is needed at this time, the LWC will contact claimants directly. The LWC encourages everyone to ensure that their email address they are required to provide at time of filing is correct.”

When will the money go out? As of Aug. 26, payments have already started.

Where to find more information: http://www.laworks.net/PublicRelations/PR_PressReleaseDetails.asp?SeqNo=2523&Year=2020&Month=8

Maine

Maine was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 25. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No. “The payments will be made automatically based on unemployment claims received; individuals will not need to call or apply separately for this benefit,” the Maine Department of Labor tweeted.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=3170340

Maryland

Maryland was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 19. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No. “Claimants will not have to file a new application to receive LWA benefits,” according to a news release from the governor.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml

Massachusetts

Massachusetts was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No. “Eligible claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take any action because the Commonwealth will automatically add LWA to their weekly benefit payment retroactive to the dates they are eligible,” according to a news release.

When will the money go out? Probably by Sept. 15.

Where to find more information: https://www.mass.gov/news/massachusetts-approved-for-lost-wages-assistance-grant

Michigan

Michigan was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No. “If you are already receiving unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything additional to qualify for this payment at this time. Continue to certify bi-weekly as you normally would,” the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s website says.

When will the money go out? Unclear, but the state asked people to “not contact Customer Service regarding your LWA payment.”

Where to find more information: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-94422_97241—,00.html

Minnesota

Minnesota was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 29. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Potentially by the end of this week or next.

Where to find more information: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/lwa.jsp

Mississippi

Mississippi was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 22. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? “Within three to four weeks,” according to a news release.

Where to find more information: https://mdes.ms.gov/news/2020/08/20/governor-reeves-mdes-launch-of-lost-wages-assistance-program-for-unemployed-mississippians

Missouri

Missouri was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 16. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Payments started going out last week, according to a news release.

Where to find more information: https://labor.mo.gov/unemployed-workers

Montana

Montana was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 18. Montana is offering $400 in unemployment benefits ($300 from FEMA and $100 from the state).

Do recipients need to do anything? Keep filing like normal — and be ready to answer the question “Were you unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 this week?”

When will the money go out? The state began distributing the payments last week, according to KULR8.

Where to find more information: http://dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19/employee-resource-covid-19

Nebraska

Nebraska was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 9. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? “Eligible PUA recipients will not need to take any action to receive the additional payments,” a state press release explains. “Individuals falling under other benefit programs will need to certify their eligibility in NEworks.nebraska.gov. Further instructions will be issued directly to those claimants.”

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits

Nevada

Nevada was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 11. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Once approved, as long as six weeks, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Where to find more information: http://ui.nv.gov

New Hampshire

New Hampshire was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 24. Also, Gov. Chris Sununu increased the minimum weekly unemployment payout to $100 so all beneficiaries are eligible for the $300 checks.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? Early September.

Where to find more information: https://www.nhes.nh.gov

New Jersey

New Jersey was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 4. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? It could take a while. “This new program must be created from scratch and run separately from New Jersey’s existing state and federal unemployment programs,” according to a news release. “This is not something New Jersey or any state will be able to do quickly or easily.” According an official cited by nj.com, the “payments probably won’t be made until October.”

Where to find more information: https://myunemployment.nj.gov

New Mexico

New Mexico was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 15. It was one of the first states to receive Lost Wages funds.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? The second week of September.

Where to find more information: https://www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info

New York

New York was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 23. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No, at least for now. The state will contact claimants once it’s ready.

When will the money go out? Unclear. “New York State is working to implement this program as quickly as possible,” according to an FAQ.

Where to find more information: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/pdfs/lwa-factsheet.pdf

North Carolina

North Carolina was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? As soon as the week of Sept. 7.

Where to find more information: https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information/covid-19-information-individuals/lost-wages-assistance

North Dakota

North Dakota was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 31. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Early to mid-September.

Where to find more information: https://www.health.nd.gov/news/burgum-north-dakota-will-participate-lost-wages-assistance-program-created-president-trump

Ohio

Ohio was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 26. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? By mid-September.

Where to find more information: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov

Oklahoma

Oklahoma was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 18. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Up to five weeks from Aug. 19. “We’re operating in a compressed timeline with the understanding people across our state need help,” Shelley Zumwalt, with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said in a news release.

Where to find more information: https://www.governor.ok.gov/articles/press_releases/federal-approval-of-state-s-lwa-application

Oregon

Oregon was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 28. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.opb.org/article/2020/08/29/unemployment-300-fema-oregon-disaster-relief

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 24. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Labor-and-Industry-details.aspx?newsid=477

Rhode Island

Rhode Island was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 22. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Within three weeks. “We will update claimants when additional information is available,” the Department of Labor and Training’s website says.

Where to find more information: https://dlt.ri.gov/ui

South Carolina

South Carolina was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 1. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? Unclear.

When will the money go out? The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says it is working to “update the requirements of the new program into the MyBenefits portal which could take two to three weeks to implement.”

Where to find more information: https://dew.sc.gov/

South Dakota

South Dakota refused the offer of FEMA funding. Gov. Kristi Noem said in a news release that while the state is “very grateful for the additional flexibility that this effort would have provided,” South Dakota “is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it,” as it has recovered nearly 80% of its job losses.

Do recipients need to do anything? N/A

When will the money go out? N/A

Where to find more information: https://dlr.sd.gov

Tennessee

Tennessee was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 22. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear. “At this time, there is no definitive start date as to when the state will begin dispersing the additional weekly benefit,” according to a news release.

Where to find more information: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/general-resources/news/2020/8/24/tennessees-lost-wages-assistance-grant-approved.html

Texas

Texas was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 21. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/lost-wages-assistance#overview

Utah

Utah was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 16. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week, though leaders have noted that “this benefit is currently time-limited to only a three-week period and not everyone who has filed an unemployment claim will be eligible.”

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Within the next couple of weeks, according to ABC4 News.

Where to find more information: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home

Vermont

Vermont was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 22. In a news release, the state’s labor department said “in addition to the application submitted to FEMA for this benefit, the Governor has requested $20 million in Coronavirus Relief funding from the Vermont Legislature to provide an additional $100 per week to eligible claimants, bringing the total benefit to $400 per week.”

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? The state “expects to start issuing payments to eligible Vermonters in the coming weeks,” according to the release.

Where to find more information: https://labor.vermont.gov

Virginia

Virginia was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 26. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed

Washington

Washington was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 24. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? “We don’t know yet. [The state Employment Security Department] is working as quickly as possible to implement this temporary measure and distribute payments to Washingtonians,” according to the department’s website.

Where to find more information: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/lwa

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 8. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? The first week of October, according to an announcement from the mayor’s office.

Where to find more information: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals

West Virginia

West Virginia was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 27. It will provide $400 extra in unemployment benefits per week ($300 from the feds, $100 from the state).

Do recipients need to do anything? Just keep filing like normal.

When will the money go out? Unclear.

Where to find more information: https://workforcewv.org

Wisconsin

Wisconsin was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Sept. 1. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? “Anticipating approval from FEMA, the [Department of Workforce Development’s] IT team is in the process of programming for LWA. We expect programming will take approximately eight weeks,” the department’s website says.

Where to find more information: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/lwa

Wyoming

Wyoming was approved for the Lost Wages grant on Aug. 28. It will provide $300 extra in unemployment benefits per week.

Do recipients need to do anything? No.

When will the money go out? “We will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible,” Holly McKamey Simoni, with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said in a news release.

Where to find more information: http://wyomingworkforce.org/news/2020-08-23

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This story has been updated to reflect that West Virginia plans to distribute $300 from the federal government and $100 in state funds (not the other way around).

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