Mississippi Approved for Lost Wages Assistance Program for Unemployed Mississippians

Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) announced that Mississippi’s application for a Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) grant under the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA) has been approved.

FEMA Administrator, Pete Gaynor approved Mississippi for a FEMA grant under the LWA program and Jacqueline Turner, Executive Director for MDES, signed the acceptance award August 23, 2020.

On August 8, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum making grant funding available to states and territories through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5174 (the “Stafford Act”). The memorandum enables electing states to offer additional “Lost Wages Assistance” to eligible unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits.

Benefits will be available for weeks of unemployment beginning the week ending August 1, 2020, through weeks of unemployment ending no later than December 27, 2020, or when the balance in FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) reaches $25 billion, or when the $44 billion from the DRF designated for LWA is exhausted, or when the state matching funds have been exhausted, whichever occurs first. Conversely, funding for these benefits would also terminate upon enactment of legislation providing, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental Federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals.

Mississippians who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are currently
receiving a weekly unemployment benefit amount of $100 or more from one of the following programs will be eligible to receive an additional $300 a week in the LWA FEMA program:

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
  • Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
  • Self-Employment Assistance (SEA)

MDES will implement the program and funds will be available within three to four weeks.

Claimants do not need to file a separate application to receive LWA. MDES will make the LWA payments in the same manner as any payment from one of the above-listed programs payable for the week involved for all participating claimants. The $300 LWA payment is subject to both federal and state income taxes.

To learn more about Mississippi Unemployment Benefits and for additional updates and information about unemployment assistance programs in MS, click the link below.

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