$3 Billion in Unemployment Benefits Issued Since the Onset of COVID-19 in March

September 11, 2020, 5:59 AM HST · Updated September 14, 7:17 AM
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State seal. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations updated its unemployment insurance claims information, including paying $3,081,193,375 and 3,155,245 weeks claimed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic on March 1, 2020.

DLIR also announced Thursday the launch of a self-certification modification to the unemployment insurance portal on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. The new feature will allow claimants to enroll in the Lost Wages Assistance program by certifying their unemployment was due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

  • No. of claims filed statewide: 282,897
  • No. of invalid claims filed statewide: -98,550
  • No. of valid claims awaiting claimant to verify: -9,755
  • No. of valid claims requiring DLIR action: 184,347
  • No. of claims paid: 174,233
  • No. of claims requiring DLIR action 9/10/20: 10,114

“Were deploying this feature as part of our efforts to provide additional relief to claimants as soon as possible,” said Acting Director Anne Eustaquio. “We’re diligently building a new program within the unemployment computer system to implement and pay LWA benefits.”

Claimants are required to sign into their accounts on the unemployment insurance portal and answer a pop-up page that allows them to self-certify that they were partially or wholly unemployed due to COVID-19. A graphic demonstrating the process is available at https://labor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/How-LWA20200906.pdf. The DLIR will start processing payments in October and the payments will be staggered for each week you are eligible. Payments will be retroactive for all the weeks for which you are eligible.

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With the assistance of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, the DLIR has received approval to pay five weeks of benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program will pay $300 a week to all eligible claimants that receive at least $100 per week in unemployment insurance benefits. The program excludes those with a weekly benefit amount of less than $100 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits. Payments will be retroactive for the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2020.

Individuals with pending issues preventing payment will not receive the additional $300 per week if they are allowed benefits after the program has ended. Unlike the FPUC program ($600 plus-up) 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. 

The State of Hawaiʻi is not allowed to use CARES Act or any local funds to supplement those individuals with a weekly benefit amount of less than $100 to make them eligible for the program pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum.

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