State Department of Labor explains payment distribution for Lost Wages Assistance program


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For the past week, some Tennesseans have received an extra deposit in their bank account.

The money is coming from the federal Lost Wages Assistance program, aimed at helping those who are unemployed or those who have lost wages due to COVID-19.

In August, President Trump authorized FEMA to give grants to states that would help provide $300 per week to those that qualified.

To qualify, people must also receive $100 per week in state unemployment benefits.

On August 24, Tennessee received 236 million from FEMA for its weekly $300 payments. Payments were to be given retroactively starting with the first week of August.

The timeline of the deposits has left some confused and worried. News 2 received inquiries from viewers about when to expect payments.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Labor told News 2,

“The state still has the funding needed to pay eligible claimants the first three weeks of LWA. The Department is still processing those first payments.

If a claimant was eligible for LWA the first three weeks of August, they will receive a retroactive lump sum payment for those weeks. Some claimants may not be eligible for all 3 weeks and would receive payments only for the weeks eligible.

Moving forward, the state is processing LWA benefits when the funding from FEMA is available for distribution. If that coincides with a claimant’s regular benefit payment, it will be included. If funding is available at the end of a week, the LWA payment could come separately.

Tennessee has submitted its request to FEMA for the funding necessary to process the $300 LWA payments for the week ending August 22.

Due to the nature of the LWA grant, benefit payments to claimants will have a lag time of one or two weeks, if not longer. FEMA is approving LWA funding for Tennessee on a week-to-week basis. Once the state determines the amount of funding needed to cover payments for a specific week, the Department applies for the money needed to process those payments.

The next LWA payment will go out in a matter of days after the state receives funding.”

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