The New York State Labor Department will begin next week to distribute unemployment payments from the federal Lost Wages Assistance program, which provides an additional $300 in weekly benefits. More than 2 million New Yorkers are eligible for the program, but many must submit an additional certification to qualify.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released funding for the first three weeks of LWA benefits to New York state, covering the benefit weeks ending August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th. The Labor Department estimates that up to 2.4 million New Yorkers may be eligible for the benefits from those weeks, including recipients of both traditional unemployment insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). However, while approximately 2 million New Yorkers are pre-qualified and will receive payments starting next week, roughly 435,000 people must submit an additional certification to qualify.
The 2 million people are already qualified for the LWA program because they indicated on their initial benefit application that their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These claimants don’t need to take any further action; they will receive LWA payments starting next week, and get an email and text message from DOL informing them that they have pre-qualified for LWA.
But around 435,000 eligible people need to submit an additional certification confirming that their unemployment is related to COVID-19 to qualify for LWA benefits, as required by the federal government. These claimants can make the certification starting Friday, September 11, either online or by phone. Phone claimants can call 833-491-0632 to certify via an automated phone system. Online claimants will receive a secure DocuSign email from the Labor Department on September 11th, with a link to certify for LWA benefits.
Claimants whose certification is submitted by 5:00 pm on September 15th will receive payments starting next week. After that, payments will be released on a rolling basis.
These payments are for the weeks ending August 2nd, 9th, and 16th. Additional funding for further weeks of unemployment may be released later, the Labor Department said.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the funds for the $300-a-week payment will run out after a total of six weeks, ending Sept. 5, but that FEMA has emphasized that all eligible recipients will get the payment for that full six-weeks period.