Feds fund unemployment bonus program

HONOLULU – The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Sunday it has approved a $193,933,095 grant to Hawai‘i to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 with an additional $300 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit.

“While this new funding will provide some immediate help, it’s not enough for Hawai‘i families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We’ll continue working to secure more federal funding to help Hawai‘i get through this tough time.”

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program is funded by FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which received $45 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We pursued the additional funds because we know the added $300 per week will help many in our community who are struggling. I have directed the department to implement the program as quickly as possible while maintaining the program’s integrity,” said Gov. David Ige

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)

Additional information on the program and how to apply will be announced at a later time.


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