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Lost Wages Assistance program


(en español)

Lost Wages Assistance is a federal program that adds $300 for each week the program remains federally funded.
If you received unemployment benefits for the approved weeks and you were unemployed or working fewer hours due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, you may be eligible for these benefits.

The LWA program is funded only for the approved weeks listed below. Washington was approved for the maximum number of weeks available.

  • We process payments weekly. We will pay you for all weeks listed below that are in Paid status. If your status for a week is not yet Paid, we will issue a payment the next time we process payments if the week changes to Paid status.

  • We issue payments by direct deposit or debit card. The money will come in a deposit separate from your normal weekly payment.

  • See more in the LWA payments section below.

 

Requirements to receive LWA payments


  1. Federal funds must still be available.

  2. You were unemployed or working fewer hours due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

  3. We already paid you unemployment benefits for the approved weeks of the program.

 

Approved weeks of the program


Applications approved: weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5, 2020.

If you were eligible for any of the approved weeks, you will receive the extra $300 retroactively for those weeks. 

Washington state applied and was approved for all weeks available from the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not funding any weeks beyond the week ending Sept. 5, 2020.

 

LWA payments


3 steps to getting LWA payments – with an eServices account

Answer the eligibility question
If you have an eServices account, you will get an email from eServices saying that you need to answer an eligibility question. Select the link to answer one question to certify if you were unemployed or working fewer hours due to COVID-19.

We will notify you in your eServices account to say whether you have been approved for Lost Wages Assistance. We will notify you by mail if you do not have an eServices account.

If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you don’t need to answer the eligibility question because you already have. In that case, you won’t receive a notice in eServices. We will automatically pay you the extra $300 for the weeks you are eligible.

  1. We approve or deny you for the program
    Once we receive your answer to the eligibility question, we will send you a notice in your eServices account to let you know we received it and are processing it.

    We will check to see if you have been paid unemployment benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, 2020. You can check the status of these weeks in eServices.

    Then we’ll send you another notice telling you whether you are eligible to receive the $300 and for what weeks.
  1. We issue your payment(s)

    The Weeks summary tab in your eServices account will include the payment. Check your claims for weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5, 2020. If the Status column shows we paid you for those weeks, the Benefits paid column will show an increase of $300. If you chose to withhold income taxes from your weekly benefits, you will instead see an increase of $270 because we withheld $30 in taxes. 

    While we process LWA payments (typically each Monday), you also might notice some changes to amounts listed in your Weeks summary tab for the approved weeks.

  • If you are eligible, the LWA payment will first be added to the Weekly benefit amount column and later to the Benefits paid column.
  • If you are not eligible, the LWA payment might be added to the Weekly benefit amount column and then subtracted again.

 

3 steps to getting LWA payments – without an eServices account

If you applied for unemployment benefits and submit your weekly claims by phone instead of online, the three steps are the same, but we will communicate with you differently.

  1. Answer the eligibility question
    We will send you a letter by mail to tell you about the LWA program. 

    If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you don’t need to answer the eligibility question because you already have. In that case, you won’t receive a notice by mail. We will automatically pay you the extra $300 for the weeks you are eligible.
  1. We approve or deny you for the program
    After you speak to an agent to answer the eligibility question, we will check to see if you have been paid unemployment benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, 2020. We will then send you another letter by mail to tell you whether you are eligible to receive the $300 and for what weeks.

  2. We issue your payment(s)
    We issue payments by direct deposit or debit card. Check your bank or credit union account to see if you received the payment(s). We will not send another letter to tell you if we issued a payment.

Q&As


Q: If I’m eligible, when will I receive the LWA benefits?

A: If you are eligible, you will receive the money in your account as soon as your bank processes the payment from us. Payments will be retroactive for all the weeks for which you are eligible.

The only exception to this payment timeline is if your unemployment claim for any of the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5, 2020, is pending due to an issue we are investigating. We must first resolve those issues and pay you unemployment benefits for those weeks. Then, if Lost Wages Assistance funds are still available, we also will pay you the extra $300 for those weeks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the amount we requested to pay claimants in this situation. In addition, FEMA is allowing states plenty of time to resolve these claims.
 

Q: I just answered the LWA eligibility question and now my weekly benefit payment is delayed. Why?

A: Answering the eligibility question did not delay your payment. Weekly claim payments are sometimes delayed due to slower than normal processing times. We apologize for the delay and frustration this may cause.

Q: Is the LWA the same program that paid the extra $600 per week under the CARES Act?

A: No. The $600 per week available under the CARES Act expired at the end of July 2020. LWA has different eligibility requirements and is a limited pool of money to be shared among all states that apply and are approved.

Q: Do I need to receive more than $100 in weekly unemployment benefits in order to receive the extra benefits?

A: No. Since Washington’s minimum weekly benefit amount is higher than the $100 required by LWA, this is not a concern for Washington claimants. As long as you are eligible to receive at least $1 in benefits, you can receive LWA.

For example, if you receive less than $100 each week because money is being deducted from your weekly benefit payment, you will still be eligible for the entire $300.

Q: I see notes in the Pending Issues tab in my eServices account. Is there a problem processing my LWA benefits?

A: Issues related to Lost Wages Assistance will appear under Pending Issues. We will clear those issues from your account after we process your answer to the eligibility question. The LWA issue does not affect your current benefit payments.

Q: The amounts in the Weeks summary tab in eServices keep changing. Why?

       A: The amounts will change as we process payments. If you are eligible for any approved week, the LWA payment will first be added to the Weekly benefit amount column and later to the Benefits paid column. If you are not eligible, the LWA payment might be added to the Weekly benefit amount column and then subtracted again.


Q: Will I be paid in one lump sum or separately for each week?

       A: It depends on when we verify that each approved week is in Paid status. You might get paid for all 6 weeks at once. Or, you might get paid for several weeks at once and then more later. Or, you might get paid one week at a time. If your status for a week is not yet Paid, we will issue a payment the next time we process payments if the week changes to Paid status and if funds are still available.