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 receive unemployment benefits for the approved weeks and you are unemployed or working fewer hours due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, you may be eligible for these benefits.

The federal government announced Sept. 9 that the LWA program is funded only for the approved weeks listed below. Washington has been approved for the maximum number of weeks available.

 

Requirements to receive LWA payments


  1. Federal funds are still available.

  2. You must have been 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 currently approved: weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5.

If you’re 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 announced that it is not funding any weeks beyond the week ending Sept. 5, 2020.

 

LWA payments


3 steps to getting LWA payments – with an eServices account

  1. Answer the eligibility question
    If you have an eServices account, you will see get an email from eServices and see a link in your account saying that you need to answer an eligibility question. This will appear in your account starting the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Click the link to answer one question to certify if you were unemployed or working fewer hours due to COVID-19.

    Important! You can certify any time between the evening of Sept. 8 and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 to get your payment the week of Sept. 21. Early mornings and late evenings are good times. We will start processing payments on Sept. 21.

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

    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.

  2. 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. 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)
    If you have an eServices account, your LWA status will change after we issue you a payment. (See last Q&A below for more information on LWA statuses.) We issue payments by direct deposit or debit card. 

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. We will give you a phone number to call. You will reach an agent who will ask you to certify if you are or were unemployed or working fewer hours due to COVID-19. The agents taking your call can help you only with this question.

    You can call during business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday) through Sept. 18 to get your payment the week of Sept. 21, if you are eligible. Many people will be certifying by phone. To serve you better, please call according to the instructions you will receive in our letter. We will start processing payments on Sept. 21. If you call after Sept. 21, you may still receive a payment. However, the LWA program has a limited budget. We encourage you to call by Sept. 18. 

    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. 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. You will need to check your banking accounts to see if you received the payment(s). We will not send you 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: We will start processing payments for this new program Mon., Sept. 21, 2020. 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 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 payment processing has been delayed by 2-3 days during the week of Sept. 7 due to the Labor Day holiday. The delay also is due to slower than normal processing following the LWA launch. Customers who submitted weekly claims on Sunday and Monday, Sept. 5 and 6, should start seeing payments in their accounts in the next day or two. 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. 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: How much money could the LWA program contribute to Washington’s economy?

A: We estimate that the LWA could provide more than $400 million to families, individuals and our state’s economy. Any additional funds to help unemployed workers are welcome.

Q: What do all those messages mean in my eServices account?

Note: You may see an issue in the Pending Issues tab of your eServices account. Issues related to Lost Wages Assistance will be cleared from your account after we process your answer to the eligibility question. The LWA issue does not affect your current benefit payments.

A: If you see this message at the top of your eServices home page...

  • "Answer the eligibility question for Lost Wages Assistance."
    It means:
    You have not yet answered the eligibility question. Click the link to answer the question.

  • "We received your answer. We will update your status if we issue a payment."
    It means:
    You answered the eligibility question. You don’t need to do anything more. If we are able to issue a Lost Wages Assistance payment to you, we will update this message.

  • "No action needed. We will update your status if we issue a payment."
    It means:
    You have received PUA benefits. You don’t need to answer the eligibility question. If we issue a Lost Wages Assistance payment to you, we will update this message.

  • "You are not eligible for Lost Wages Assistance benefits. You told us you are not unemployed or working fewer hours because of the COVID-19 pandemic."
    It means:
    You are not eligible for Lost Wages Assistance based on how you answered the eligibility question.

  • "We last issued a payment on XX/XX/XXXX for your Lost Wages Assistance benefits."
    It means:
    We paid you Lost Wages Assistance benefits on XX/XX/XXXX. It may take a few days for your bank to process the payment and the funds to arrive in your account.