DES MOINES, IOWA (September 3, 2020) Iowa Workforce Development announced today that it is accepting applications and processing claims under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. LWA benefit payments will be received by claimants in 5-7 business days. The LWA program pays eligible claimants an additional $300 per week and the first payment will include retroactive payments to the week ending August 1, 2020. 

Iowa was one of the first states in the country to apply and be approved for LWA program funds from FEMA after it was created by Executive Order on August 8, by President Trump. Iowa is the seventh state to be paying this supplemental benefit. The LWA program is also the fifth new unemployment benefit program that IWD has successfully implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these programs must work together and in addition to Iowa’s unemployment insurance system, which makes implementation extremely difficult.  

“When the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) ended, President Trump approved the Lost Wages Assistance program to provide additional benefits to Iowans who continue to be unemployed due to the pandemic. The IWD team again worked tirelessly to effectively implement a new program in less than 4 weeks,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Assisting Iowans is our number one priority and has been throughout the pandemic. Developing the complex payment processes required for this program as quickly as we did, reflects this commitment that enables us to provide much-needed assistance to Iowans impacted by the pandemic.”

Iowa has secured available funding for all five weeks of the LWA program. The LWA program will continue until it expires when the earlier of the following occur:

1) FEMA expends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), or

2) The total unobligated balance of the DRF decreases to $25 billion, or

3) Legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or underemployed individuals; or

4) December 27, 2020, which is the end of the period of performance for the grant.

To receive an LWA benefit payment, claimants must be eligible to receive at least $100 in unemployment benefits per week, and the individual must self-certify that s/he is unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who self-certified when they filed their initial claim and are eligible for an LWA benefit payment do not need to take any action because IWD will automatically add the $300 to their weekly benefit amount.

Individuals who did not indicate they were unemployed due to COVID-19 and meet the other eligibility requirements will be asked additional questions on their weekly continued claim reporting to determine their potential eligibility for the LWA program.

For more information about the LWA program, please visit the IWD website at:  https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/lost-wages-assistance.

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