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Federal gov’t ends extra $300 weekly benefit for jobless workers

HARRISBURG — Jerry Oleksiak, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry secretary, received notification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that the Lost Wages Assistance program — which provided an additional $300 weekly benefit to unemployed workers — ended on Saturday, Sept. 5.

No other unemployment benefits programs are affected.

“Although the LWA program has ended, L&I will continue paying eligible claimants retroactively for claim weeks between August 1 and September 5,” Oleksiak said. “We will continue making these payments until the funding we’ve already received from FEMA for this program is depleted. I urge anyone who is partially or fully unemployed because of COVID-19 and hasn’t yet applied for LWA benefits to do so right away.”

Eligible claimants need to apply for LWA benefits. Claimants who have already applied for LWA could begin receiving the extra $300 weekly benefit as early as Sept. 14. Not everyone will receive payment on September 14. The actual date a payment will be received will depend on factors outside of the state’s control, such as how long it will take a bank to process the payment, etc.

After benefits are paid from a qualifying program to an individual for any of the approved dates, the LWA payment will follow one week later if the individual has already completed the LWA application.

LWA payments will be made in one lump sum for the previous claim weeks Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5.

Individuals who may be eligible for LWA but have not yet received payment for an approved week from a qualifying program should still apply as soon as possible. At the time benefits are paid from a qualifying program to an individual for any of the approved dates, the LWA payment will follow one week later if the individual has already completed the LWA certification.

As a reminder, to qualify for the extra $300, the LWA program requires that eligible individuals must have a benefit rate and dependence allowance totaling $100 or more per week in benefits, and must receive a benefit payment for each week from one of the following qualifying programs:

¯ Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC);

¯ Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);

¯ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);

¯ Pennsylvania Extended Benefits (EB);

¯ Shared Work or Short-Time Compensation (STC); and

¯ Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).

Individuals receiving benefits from these programs — with the exception of PUA and Shared Work — will need to apply for LWA by certifying one time only that their unemployment is due to COVID-19. PUA recipients do not need to apply, as they already certified that they are unemployed due to COVID-19 as part of their initial application for benefits.

Applicants with computer and internet access should apply for the LWA benefits online. The online application will become available when applicants apply for biweekly claims. Log in as one normally would to access the application.

Claimants who need to complete the certification process should:

¯ Visit www.uc.pa.gov/cert and log in using your PIN as if you are filing a biweekly claim

¯ Select the “Complete LWA Certification” button and fill out the certification.

¯ Complete this certification only one time.

Applications are also available for individuals who cannot apply online. This week, UC began mailing applications to claimants who did not provide their email address.

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