Connecticut approved for two additional weeks of lost wages assistance; Claimant certification begins within a week
Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby today announced that the State of Connecticut has been approved for an additional two weeks of Lost Wages Assistance supplemental benefits. Lost Wages Assistance is the new federal program funded by $44 billion in Stafford Act disaster relief. It will provide an additional $300 per week for any claimant who has a weekly benefit of at least $100 (including the dependency allowance) and who has become unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19.
“This program will be a significant help to a lot of Connecticut residents who need assistance,” Commissioner Westby said. “With five weeks of benefits available, Lost Wages Assistance can take some financial pressure off claimants, but it is only a temporary program and expires when the FEMA funding is exhausted. I join Governor Lamont and our Congressional delegation in urging a more permanent solution for the workforce, which is still reeling from COVID-19.”
Existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have already self-certified and do not need to do anything to receive the additional benefit. New unemployment claimants and existing state and extended benefits claimants who are required to self-certify are notified by letter or email that they are eligible and may self-certify when the program is open. CTDOL is currently testing self-certification and opening the program to small groups of people over the course of the next few days. Payments will be disbursed in mid-September when the self-certification testing is complete and widely available to all.
- Claimants log into their unemployment account, where the account main page offers a new option in the menu “Certify for Lost Wages Assistance.”
- Once a claimant has clicked on the button, a new screen will ask them to certify that their unemployment or underemployment is due to COVID-19.
- The claimant then confirms their submission and has completed the process.
Federal eligibility guidelines include:
Recipients of at least $100 per week, including the dependency allowance, of any of the following benefits for the week they are seeking unemployment benefits;
- Claimants receiving unemployment compensation, including state and federal workers and former service members, as well as those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Extended Benefits, or High Extended Benefits;
- Claimants who are part of the Shared Work Program; and
- Workers with a Trade Readjustment Allowance.
A total of five weeks of Lost Wages Assistance will be paid in addition to regular unemployment weekly benefits and will be retroactive to the claim week beginning July 26, 2020. It will also be available for claim weeks beginning August 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2020. Claimants will receive the supplemental benefit in several payments; the first payment of $300 will be issued mid-September, with the remainder of retroactive payments following in two or three separate payments.
FEMA will terminate the program once available federal funding is exhausted or if the federal government passes legislation that replaces the program. The program is expected to provide $375 million in additional unemployment benefits to Connecticut claimants.
CTDOL estimates that about 250,000 claimants will be eligible for the funding. The agency will continue to release updates as they become available on the CTDOL Federal Supplements webpage and send them directly to anyone who signs up for “Info to your Inbox” on the CT DOL agency’s homepage.