Gov. Larry Hogan.

Lost Wages Assistance Program, expected to begin in late September, provides benefits retroactive to August 1

Governor Larry Hogan has submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Administration for the Lost Wages Assistance grant, which will provide an additional $300 per week to Marylanders who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Far too many Marylanders are still struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. With this critical funding, we can help those struggling Marylanders weather this storm, get back on their feet, and recover,” said Hogan in a statement released today.

For weeks, national leaders fought over details to extend benefits for the unemployed, whose $600 COVID relief benefit expired on July 31. Last week, President Donald Trump signed a measure to boost unemployment benefits by $400 per week, with $300 coming from federal funds.

Once FEMA reviews and approves the state’s grant application, the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance will coordinate with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and FEMA to program, implement, and distribute LWA funds, which is expected to begin in late September.

“While it will take some time to work with the federal administration to implement this new program, all claimants will receive benefit payments retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility within the new program,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson.

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.

With guidance from the Department of Labor, FEMA will fund the $300 per week benefit and Maryland will fulfill the 25 percent state match through funding that is already paid to claimants in regular unemployment insurance benefits. According to the governor’s statement, terms of the assistance program may change if the FEMA funding is exhausted or the federal government enacts a new law providing supplemental federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals due to COVID-19.