Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

(Additional $300 per week)

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Last updated on 10/22/2020 at 8:30 am

Topics:  LWA Overview  |  LWA Payments  |  LWA FAQs

LWA Overview

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program that provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. FEMA approved Wisconsin for the LWA program.

This new LWA payment is in addition to regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Work-Share benefits currently available to unemployed Wisconsin workers.

LWA payments will be made retroactively to eligible people for up to six weeks: the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, 2020. FEMA will not fund any weeks after September 5, 2020.

If your unemployment claim for any of the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 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 LWA funds are still available, we also will pay you the extra $300 for those weeks. In addition, FEMA is allowing states time to resolve these claims.

A person does not need to file a separate application to receive LWA but must self-certify that he or she is unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. (Those who qualify for PUA are presumed to have met the self-certification requirements.)

Claimants must have a weekly benefit rate of at least $100 to be eligible for LWA. (Note: Work-Share claimants are eligible for LWA if at least $100 is payable to them post-reduction). The state's maximum weekly unemployment benefit is $370. When combined with the new program, the maximum possible benefit in Wisconsin is $670 per week, before tax withholding.

LWA Payments

  • Payment Amount:
    • Additional $300 per week. This amount is taxable income.
  • Duration of LWA Benefits:
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020.
    • Last Payable Week: Through the week ending September 5, 2020, if federal funds remain. FEMA will not fund any weeks after the week ending September 5, 2020.

LWA Frequently Asked Questions

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President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum on August 8, 2020, which offers cash benefits of $300 per week for eligible unemployed or partially unemployed people. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continue to provide guidance to each state for the proper administration of LWA. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will continue to communicate the guidelines of the program as they are finalized by these federal agencies.

Wisconsin applied for LWA on August 27, 2020 and was approved on September 1, 2020.

An eligible claimant could receive a $300 LWA benefit in addition to their weekly unemployment benefit.

LWA payments will be made retroactively to eligible people for up to six weeks: the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, 2020. FEMA will not fund any weeks after September 5, 2020

There is no application for LWA. Instead, you will be asked a question in your claimant portal, "As of week ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, or September 5, 2020, were you unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and want to be considered for the lost wage supplement payment?"

If you are unable to access the claimant portal, contact a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661.

Claimants eligible for LWA will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit rate as long they are eligible for unemployment benefits and have certified that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Certification occurs when you answer the following question in your claimant portal, "As of week ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, or September 5, 2020, were you unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and want to be considered for the lost wage supplement payment?"

If you are not sure if you answered the question, or need to change your answer, contact a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661.

Claimants eligible for LWA will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit rate as long they are eligible for unemployment benefits and have certified that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The state must follow the federal guidelines for this program. Eligible individuals include recipients whose weekly benefit rate is at least $100 per week in the following unemployment-related assistance programs:

In addition, an individual must certify they are unemployed, or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

No. At the time of self-certification for the program, you must be unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

LWA eligibility is different from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which limits eligibility to an otherwise eligible individual if he or she is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of a listed COVID-19 related reason in the CARES Act.

LWA payments will be made retroactively to eligible people for up to six weeks: the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, 2020. FEMA will not fund any weeks after September 5, 2020.

If your unemployment claim for any of the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 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 LWA funds are still available, we also will pay you the extra $300 for those weeks. In addition, FEMA is allowing states time to resolve these claims.

Yes. All unemployment benefits are taxable. LWA benefits are considered income for federal and state income tax purposes. You may have federal (10%) and/or state (5%) taxes withheld from your unemployment payments. Withhold federal and state taxes from your weekly benefit NOW, so you don't have to pay them later. You can opt to have taxes withheld at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.

Your 1099-G tax form will be available online at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov by mid-January.