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Department of Labor: Nearly $1.9 billion in lost wages assistance paid to New Yorkers, state approved by FEMA for 3 additional weeks of benefits

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Fri, Sep 18th 2020 10:45 am

FEMA has approved New York for 3 additional weeks of LWA benefits, for weeks ending 8/23, 8/30 and 9/6; retroactive benefits paid starting next week 

The New York State Department of Labor on Thursday announced New York has paid nearly $1.9 billion in lost wages assistance (LWA) benefits to 2.26 million New Yorkers this week, representing retroactive payments of $300 for the weeks ending Aug. 2, 9 and 16. In total, New York state has now paid $44.5 billion in benefits to New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic – representing more than 21 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just six months. 

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved New York for the second and final round of LWA funding. This round of funding provides three additional weeks of LWA benefits, paid retroactively for the weeks ending Aug. 23, 30 and Sept. 6. New Yorkers will begin to receive these payments next week.

“Over the last six months, we have moved heaven and earth to connect millions of New Yorkers with their benefits, including nearly $1.9 billion in lost wages assistance payments distributed just this week,” State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said “While plagued with administrative roadblocks, the federal lost wages assistance program is now finally providing unemployed families with much needed support – and it is unconscionable for the federal government to once again cut Americans off from this support. Leaders in Washington, D.C., must pass a comprehensive package that supports unemployed families and the state and local governments that are hurting from this pandemic. Anything less is simply unacceptable.” 

An estimated 2.3 million New Yorkers are eligible for the second round of LWA payments for the benefit weeks ending Aug. 23, 30 and Sept. 6. They include: 

•Approximately 2.1 million who are prequalified for the LWA program because they have previously indicated their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These New Yorkers will receive an email and text message informing them they are prequalified and do not need to take any further action.

•Approximately 157,000 who are eligible for one or more LWA payments for the weeks ending Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and/or Sept. 6, but have not submitted a certification indicating they are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as required by the federal government. These New Yorkers have already received a secure DocuSign email from NYS DOL with a link to certify or can call 833-491-0632 to certify via automated phone system.

•Approximately 23,700 who are eligible for one or more LWA payments for the weeks ending Aug. 23, 30 or Sept. 6, but were not eligible for the earlier weeks’ payments because they were not unemployed during the first three weeks of August. These New Yorkers will receive a secure DocuSign email from NYS DOL on Sept. 18 with a link to certify or can call 833-491-0632 to certify via automated phone system. 

New Yorkers who are prequalified for the second round of LWA benefits or who must certify and submit their certification by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, will receive their payments next week. Those who submit their certification at a later date will be paid on a rolling basis.

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