Business, Health, Politics

FEMA announces lost wages grant for Maryland

WASHINGTON, DC—On August 8, 2020, President Donald Trump made available up to $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to Americans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the state of Maryland agreed to administer a lost wages program for its citizens who are unemployed due to COVID-19.

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor has approved Maryland for a FEMA grant under this program.

FEMA’s grant funding will allow Maryland to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 an additional $300 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. FEMA will work with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to implement a system to make this funding available to Maryland residents.

Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah were previously approved for assistance.

“We sincerely appreciate FEMA’s quick approval of our application so that we can provide additional relief to struggling Marylanders” said Governor Hogan on Thursday. “Our Maryland Department of Labor team will now work with the federal administration to implement this new program so that we can distribute these benefits.”

“It is important to recognize that this is only a stopgap, and we continue to urge Congress to come together and approve federal aid for the states to help support our economic recovery,” Governor Hogan added.

From March 9 to August 15, the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance paid a total of $5,993,589,284 in regular and CARES Act unemployment insurance benefits to claimants. The state’s application secures a minimum of $431 million in additional benefits for unemployed Marylanders.

The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance will coordinate with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and FEMA to complete the programming, implementation, and distribution of LWA funds, which is expected to begin by late September. Per FEMA guidelines, Maryland’s application for the LWA program has been initially approved for a three-week period.

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Eligible claimants will receive the $300 per week in benefits retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020 and ending no later than December 26, 2020. To qualify for the additional $300 per week, claimants must be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 and must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Claimants will not have to file a new application to receive LWA benefits.

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