Last updated on 9/9/2020 at 8:15 am
The Department of Workforce Development submitted a grant application for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program on August 27, 2020. The grant was approved on September 1, 2020. DWD will update this site when additional information is available.
The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is a federal program that provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.
This new LWA payment is in addition to Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments currently available to unemployed Wisconsin workers.
Claimants do not need to file a separate application to receive LWA.
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 will be applied retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020.
Funding for this program comes from FEMA disaster relief funds and will end when the federal program exhausts its grant funding or Congress enacts legislation for a supplemental federal UI program. FEMA has allotted a three-week allocation per state, with additional weeks determined on a weekly basis thereafter.
The department's IT team is in the process of programming, which is expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.
President Trump signed four Presidential Memorandums on August 8, 2020, including one to offer enhanced unemployment insurance benefits of $300 per week. 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 the benefit. 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. The timeframe for payments is to be determined.
The LWA program has a limited budget, so the length of time the LWA program is available, the amount that is paid out, and to whom will be determined by the number of participating states, the number of payments that go out and how fast the limited federal funds are exhausted.
There is no application for LWA. Claimants eligible for LWA will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit amount as long they are eligible for unemployment benefits and unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.
The state must follow the federal guidelines. Eligible individuals include recipients whose weekly benefit amount 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, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Programming for LWA is expected to be completed by the end of October 2020. Benefits will be paid retroactively for those determined eligible.
All unemployment benefits are taxable. LWA benefits are considered income for federal and state 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.