DOL: $300 lost wages assistance payments to start next week

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FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns in New York. Americans are seeking unemployment benefits at unprecedented levels due to the coronavirus, but many are finding more frustration than relief. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The New York State Department of Labor has announced that $300 lost wages assistance payments are set to begin next week.

The program gives an additional $300 in weekly benefits to unemployed New Yorkers. Up to 2.4 million New Yorkers are eligible for the program, including 435,000 people who must submit an additional certification to qualify.

Throughout this crisis, states’ unemployment systems have been pushed to the limit and constantly-changing federal guidance — including this haphazard Presidential executive order — have only delayed our efforts to get benefits to New Yorkers in need. But we have worked day and night to stand up this program, and millions of New Yorkers will see payments next week. We are emailing all New Yorkers who are receiving benefits to inform them of their status and, if needed, provide information about certifying for the Lost Wages Assistance program. All New Yorkers should keep an eye out for these messages and, if an additional certification is required, respond immediately.

Commissioner Roberta Reardon

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released funding for the first three weeks of benefits to New York State, which will cover benefit weeks ending August 2, August 9, and August 16.

The Department of Labor said that approximately two million people are already qualified for the program, having indicated on their initial application that their unemployment was connected to the pandemic.

Those who did so do not need to take any further action. They will receive payments starting next week and will receive an email and text message from the Department of Labor informing them that they have pre-qualified.

There are around 435,000 people who need to submit an additional certification. This will help confirm that their unemployment is related to the pandemic, which is necessary to qualify for the extra benefits. Those who need to submit additional certification:

  • Can certify starting Friday, September 11 either online or via phone
  • If online, claimants will receive a secure DocuSign email from the Department of Labor with a link to certify for the extra benefits
  • If calling, claimants can call (833) 491-0632 to certify through an automated system
  • These individuals will receive payments starting the next week, if certifications are submitted by 5 p.m. on September 15
  • After September 15, payments will be released on a rolling basis

Under federal rules, New York may be eligible for additional weeks of funding. However, according to FEMA, funding for the program will stop on December 27, or sooner if:

  • The federal Disaster Relief Fund balance falls below $25 billion
  • The $44 billion set aside for the program is depleted
  • Congress enacts a replacement unemployment relief program

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