The Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) announced on Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Montana’s application for the Lost Wages Assistance Payments grant.
A news release from DLI says the grant allows the department to give an additional $400 per week to people receiving unemployment benefits. DLI says that $300 dollars will come from FEMA, and the other $100 will come from Montana’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The Lost Wage Assistance grant was established after Congress did not reauthorize the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which had been providing extra $600 weekly payments to eligible UI claimants. DLI applied for the federal funding on August 15 and submitted additional application materials on August 17.
To qualify for the additional funding, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. DLI will update its COVID-19 resource website with information on any changes to the filing process before the program goes into effect.
The news release says that the first week for which the Lost Wages Assistance payment will be available is UI benefit week ending August 1. DLI will provide retroactive payments to eligible claimants from that week forward. The duration of payment is dependent on the terms of the President’s Memorandum.
The payment could end in a matter of weeks, if FEMA funding is exhausted or the federal government enacts a new law, similar to the recently expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, to supplant the Lost Wages Assistance payment. It will end no later than December 27, 2020.