Additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits in the works

An order signed by the President earlier this month provides funding to states to provide additional benefits to help eligible unemployed workers.

Mississippi has applied for assistance from the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.  Governor Tate Reeves says, once the application is approved, eligible Mississippians receiving unemployment will get an additional $300 per week.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) will administer the program and funds will begin to roll out within three to four weeks of the state receiving federal approval.

The Memorandum signed by President Donald Trump on August 8, 2020,  retroactively enables benefits to be available for weeks of unemployment beginning the week ending August 1, 2020, through weeks of unemployment ending no later than December 27, 2020.

There are a few additional caveats to the program.  It could also end: 

  • 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)

Claimants do not need to file a separate application to receive the 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.