Dozens of states have begun higher unemployment payments under a new federal program. However, if you are one of hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans who do not meet certain criteria, you will not receive any of that money.
On August 8, by order of the executive, President Trump waived a $ 300 surcharge on weekly unemployment benefits. The program is called Lost Wages Assistance and is retroactive to August 1st.
Trump approved the payments because lawmakers couldn’t reach an agreement to extend the $ 600-a-week weekly unemployment surge known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which ended on July 31.
Due to limited federal funding, wage support increases unemployment benefits in participating states for a maximum of six weeks.
Overall, during the pandemic, unemployment programs have expanded to include many people who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits, according to Michele Evermore, an expert on unemployment benefits at the National labor law project.
The Aid program for lost wages It helps a lot of people, but compared to the previous $ 600 payments, it reduces the extended weekly payments to $ 300 and excludes many unemployed Americans who were automatically enrolled in the $ 600 program.
“It’s clear that people are falling through the cracks, and it really is an unfortunate group of people that are,” Evermore said.
7 Groups of People Not Receiving the $ 300 Weekly Unemployment Benefit
Here you can see who is not eligible for higher unemployment benefits under the Lost Wage Assistance Program.
1. People receiving unemployment benefits less than $ 100 per week
You must be eligible for Unemployment Benefit of at least $ 100 per week from select programs in order to receive payments for Lost Wage Assistance.
The $ 100 must come from one of these seven unemployment programs:
This is the main disqualifying factor for obtaining the funds. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans are getting less than $ 100 a week.
University of Illinois labor economist and professor Eliza Forsythe estimated that 6% of all unemployment insurance recipients don’t receive that much and are ineligible every week. Evermore agreed, stating that it is “based on the best data we have”.
For context, that 6% figure equates to 928,000 unemployed Americans, based on data from the Department of Labor for the week of August 1 – the first week the LWA went into effect.
2. Those who do not self-certify that they are unemployed due to a pandemic
While there is no need to apply for $ 300 per week, you will need to confirm to yourself that you are unemployed due to the coronavirus.
However, when you receive Pandemic unemployment assistanceYou don’t need to self-certify as you already had to do so to join this program.
Depending on where you live, your state may ask you in different ways if you are unemployed due to COVID-19.
“It’s going to be confusing. People will take these as different things,” Evermore said. “The question comes out of the blue to people in some states.”
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The pandemic could have caused your unemployment for a number of reasons other than literally contracting the coronavirus. Your employer could have closed. You could take care of someone who has the coronavirus. These examples will qualify you for the program and are legitimate reasons to self-certify that you are unemployed due to COVID-19.
But Evermore said it wasn’t always clear and some people were scared or unsure how to answer the question.
“People don’t know what the consequence of saying no or yes is, and people might assume that saying yes has a consequence,” she said.
3. The newly unemployed
Funding for the Lost Wage Assistance Program is limited. As a result, the $ 300 weekly payments are only available for a maximum of six weeks.
These weeks are August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, August 22nd, August 29th and September 5th. Payments are available retrospectively – and LWA is only retroactive in 39 states.
And the funds are available according to availability.
“So if the money runs out by the time you prove your eligibility, you won’t get paid for that period,” Evermore said.
4. All South Dakotans
South Dakota is the only state not participating in the Lost Wage Assistance Program.
“They leaned it right out the gate,” said Evermore.
Days after Trump revealed support for lost wages, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was released this statement: “South Dakota is fortunate enough not to have to accept it. The South Dakota economy that never closed has made up nearly 80% of our job losses. “
5. PUA recipients in Alaska
If you get pandemic unemployment assistance in Alaska, you won’t see any extra relief from the $ 300 weekly payments.
Cathy Muñoz, Deputy Commissioner of the State Ministry of Labor, told the Associated Press that there is no increase in weekly PUA payments, most of which go to gig workers and independent contractors.
Even if you’re eligible, it will be a while before you see additional payments. Alaska is still trying to implement a payment system. The state has one of the last estimated LWA payout dates in the country: mid to late October.
6. Recipients of FEMA unemployment benefits
FEMA, which is funding the $ 300 rise in unemployment, is also overseeing a program to help people lose their jobs due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and forest fires. This program is called Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
“Disaster unemployment money is also paid out of the exact same pot of money that the $ 300 came from,” Evermore said. And you absolutely cannot compare a disaster benefit to a disaster benefit.
DUA is separate from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. PUA is specific to the coronavirus.
DUA is currently in effect in certain parts of California and Oregonthat have been ravaged by ongoing forest fires, but it is not one of the seven approved unemployment programs eligible for the $ 300 markup.
7. Residents of some states do not see all six payment weeks
Even if your state has been approved for federal funding, you may not receive the six-week maximum of increased benefits. Initial approval guarantees the funding of just three weeks of US $ 300 unemployment benefits.
Thereafter, each state must apply for additional funding week after week. As of now, two states no longer deliver the full six weeks: Florida and Idaho.
If you live in Florida, you see a maximum of four weeks. And five weeks if you live in Idaho.
With applications pending to FEMA in some states, it is unclear whether these are the only two states unable to make the six full weeks of the extended payments.
What comes after the loss of earnings benefit?
While the pandemic extends into the fall, lawmakers are still at a dead end over a second stimulus package. Support for lost wages was waived to give Congress time to reach an agreement, but negotiations failed.
Weeks after the stalemate, a bipartisan group of 50 lawmakers called Problem Solvers Caucus struck the middle ground and released a proposal that included a second stimulus check and a $ 450 weekly unemployment benefit increase, along with several other economic bailouts.
It is currently only a proposal and has yet to be voted on. And unemployment experts warn that your hopes are getting too high.
“The outlook is pretty bad at this point,” Evermore said of additional unemployment benefits.
Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow and Unemployment Policy Expert The Foundation of the Centuryunderlined this thought.
“As Washington was engulfed in discussions about the future of the Supreme Court, millions of Americans continued to rely on the increasingly scarce lifeline of unemployment benefits,” he said tweeted.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com