State to receive FEMA unemployment funds

Aug 27, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

The Employment Security Department announced this week that Washington State’s application has been approved for the Federal Lost Wages Assistance Program funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The program is designed to help workers unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It means that ESD now has three weeks’ worth of additional $300 weekly benefits to utilize.

Guidance for the program is coming from the U.S. Department of Labor and FEMA.  ESD has been developing a Q & A guide – for example:

  • Q: I’m on Unemployment Insurance and it’s not cut and dry that I’m unemployed due to COVID-19. How will I know if I will qualify for LWA?
    • A: For those who are on Unemployment Insurance, the Employment Security Department will be providing clear guidance on who might be eligible. They have not rolled it out yet but will do so through your eservices account as well as through their social media channels and on their website. The Lost Wages Assistance program was rolled out very quickly by the federal government and is still developing. The Employment Security Department is trying to make sure that, when they implement it, it is done clearly and correctly. Most importantly, you need to make sure you are honest in your responses to their question of whether it is because of COVID-19 that you are unemployed.

What’s next:

  • ESD is working quickly to identify a timeline for when payments will be available. It will share that information with stakeholders and claimants through its website, social media, email, and directly to eServices accounts.
  • When ESD is ready to launch, it will notify eligible claimants of any actions they may need to take.
  • ESD is working hard to define how it will implement this new program.

Washington Retail continues to work closely with ESD on helping unemployed retail workers receive the assistance they need during this pandemic.

To learn more, download the Lost Wages Assistance FAQ at