Gov. Ige Applies for New Unemployment Bonus Program, Seeks to Offer $300 Per Week to Eligible Applicants

August 25, 2020, 4:05 PM HST · Updated August 26, 2:30 PM
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Governor David Ige. PC: via Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Facebook still image of live feed.

Hawaiʻi will apply to participate in a new unemployment insurance plus up program called the Lost Wages Assistance or the LWA Program. The program, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was created by the president via a memorandum earlier this month in response to the July expiration of the unemployment $600 weekly benefit.

Governor David Ige joined Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Acting Director Anne Eustaquio in making the announcement today.

“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. Ige.

“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 Eustaquio. “In conjunction with the US Department of Labor concerning program administration, the state will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible.”

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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.

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)

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