|ADDITIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO BE DISTRIBUTED NEXT WEEK|
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, beginning early next week, WorkForce West Virginia will begin distributing an additional $400 per week in Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments to West Virginians who are unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
“I am very happy to announce that these dollars are going to start flowing to those in need,” Gov. Justice said.
These benefits are the result of a series of recent executive orders by President Donald J. Trump, extending federal enhanced unemployment insurance benefits through the end of 2020. Under the order, $300 of the weekly total is being paid for by the federal government, while the remaining $100 is being paid for by the State.
“Keep in mind that we were only one of four states that stepped up to the plate and said we were going to do the extra $100,” Gov. Justice said.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) initially approved West Virginia’s application for these LWA funds two weeks ago.
“It’s taken a little while because, once we got the go-ahead from FEMA, we had to devise our own system to administer the monies and get them going out, while making sure the right fraud protections were in place,” Gov. Justice said. “Now we’re going to get everyone their money and will be doing so very quickly.”
During his remarks Wednesday, acting Commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia Scott Adkins reported that, as of today, FEMA has approved West Virginia to utilize $103 million in LWA benefits.
West Virginia is currently approved to pay five weeks of benefits, retroactive to the week ending Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, running through the week ending Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020.
“If you’re eligible for all five weeks, you’ll get a single check or a single deposit in your account for $2,000, minus any taxes you have chosen to withhold,” Adkins said. “Any individuals who returned to work prior to August 1st will not be eligible.”
To be eligible for LWA, recipients must receive at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits and they must certify that they are unemployed or at least partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Individuals receiving unemployment benefits at a rate of less than $100 per week are not eligible for the $300 FEMA share of the LWA funds, but will receive the $100 State share in addition to their regular unemployment benefits.
“West Virginia is the only state in the union that is providing that particular benefit,” Adkins said.
‘We understand this benefit is critical to many West Virginians,” Adkins continued. “We are diligently planning and testing our systems to make sure we are paying people as quickly as possible.”
Adkins added that, once the FEMA benefits are fully exhausted, those benefits will cease.
Click here for more information on the WorkForce West Virginia website