Lost Wages Assistance Program
On Sept. 9, 2020 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified L&I that the last week for LWA benefit program is Sept. 5, 2020 due to the fund's depletion. This is not an L&I decision. No additional payments will be allowed after Sept. 5, 2020.
The federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program provided Pennsylvania $2.8 billion to give an extra $300 a week in additional funds to individuals that are unemployed (or partially unemployed) because of COVID-19 from August 1 through September 5.
LWA Program Eligibility
- You must be fully or partially unemployed due to COVID-19, and
- You must have a weekly benefit rate (+ dependent allowance, if applicable) totaling $100 or more, and
- You must receive a payment each week from one of the qualifying programs:
- Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- State Extended Benefits
- Trade Readjustment Allowances
LWA payments are only available to those that completed a certification. FEMA announced that the timeframe to complete a certification ended on December 26, 2020, therefore the department is unable to accept any new certifications received after December 26, 2020.
Information about LWA
LWA payments will be paid in one lump sum to eligible claimants for claim weeks ending:
- August 1
- August 8
- August 15
- August 22
- August 29
- September 5
- 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. No new LWA certifications are being accepted.
- LWA will run for six weeks and will end on September 5, 2020.
- If you are working full time or being paid full time for a week, you are not unemployed and will not be eligible to receive a qualifying program payment or an LWA payment for the week. Learn how earning affect UC payments.
- LWA is subject to 10% Federal tax withholding from each payment, if you already chose to have taxes withheld from your regular UC benefits. For information about changing your federal withholding status, visit our Taxes on Benefits page. For specific guidance on the tax treatment of unemployment benefits, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
LWA Program End Q&A
1. If I have not yet received payment for my LWA benefits through September 5th will I still be paid?
Yes, you will still be paid your LWA benefits, as long as funds are still available through FEMA and your certification was completed prior to December 26, 2020.
2. Will I continue to receive my unemployment benefits?
Yes. Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants will continue to receive normal weekly benefits for any benefit programs they are currently eligible for.
3. Why is LWA funding ending?
This decision was made by FEMA. LWA relies on funds administered by FEMA. L&I cannot provide additional funds without further federal action.
4. Can I appeal this decision?
No. Since this decision was made by FEMA and not L&I, claimants cannot appeal.
5. Do LWA payments count towards benefit eligibility determinations for SNAP, MA, LIHEAP, and Cash Assistance?The $300 per week LWA payment will be excluded as income and resource for Cash, Medical Assistance (Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) & Non-MAGI), SNAP and LIHEAP.
Learn more about the Federal CARES program.