Kauai News

Hawaiʻi to Apply for New Unemployment Bonus Program

Posted August 25, 2020, 2:59 PM HST

Gov. David Ige

Hawaiʻi will apply to participate in new unemployment insurance plus up program called the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program, state officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

The program, under to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was created by President Donald Trump via a memorandum earlier this month in response to the July expiration of the unemployment $600 weekly benefit put in place after millions of people lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will bring relief to many who are still unemployed due to the impact of the coronavirus on our economy. I’m taking this action to maximize all available federal funds to help people in Hawaiʻi who are unemployed because of COVID-19,” said Gov. David Ige.

Upon approval, Hawaiʻi will offer an additional unemployment compensation benefit of $300 per week to eligible unemployment recipients. To qualify for this benefit, recipients must be eligible for at least $100 in weekly benefit and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Payments would be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020.

“In anticipation of FEMA approval, the DLIR has already begun working to build a new program within the unemployment computer system to implement and pay LWA benefits,” said Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Acting Director Anne Eustaquio. “In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor concerning program administration, the state will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible.”

Unlike the FPUC program that ended in July, LWA is a grant with a finite amount of funding. When FEMA exhausts its grant funding, it will no longer have the resources to provide LWA payments and the program will end. If the federal program does not exhaust the LWA grant funding, payments will end on Dec. 26, 2020.

Claimants who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are eligible to receive at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits from one of the following programs will be eligible to receive $300 a week in LWA funds from FEMA:

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)