On Friday, the state’s Department of Labor confirmed that New York has paid nearly $1.9 billion in Lost Wages Assistance benefits to more than 2.26 million jobless workers.
The payments represent retroactive payments of $300, which went out for the weeks ending August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th.
In total, New York State has now paid $44.5 billion in benefits to New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic — representing more than 21 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just six months.
Additionally, FEMA has approved New York for the second and final round of LWA funding. That round provides three additional weeks of benefits, which will be paid for the weeks ending August 23rd, August 30th, and September 6th.
Officials say those payments will start next week.
“Over the last six months, we have moved heaven and earth to connect millions of New Yorkers with their benefits, including nearly $1.9 billion in Lost Wages Assistance payments distributed just this week,” State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said.
There were administrative issues along the way, but the funding secured through President Donald Trump’s executive order created an avenue for unemployment assistance for those in a difficult financial spot due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“While plagued with administrative roadblocks, the federal lost wages assistance program is now finally providing unemployed families with much needed support — and it is unconscionable for the Federal government to once again cut Americans off from this support. Leaders in Washington D.C. must pass a comprehensive package that supports unemployed families and the state and local governments that are hurting from this pandemic. Anything less is simply unacceptable,” Reardon continued.
The state estimates that 2.3 million New Yorkers are eligible for the second round of payments. This includes 2.1 million who were pre-qualified for the LWA program because they indicated that their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another 157,000 are eligible for one or more payments, but have not submitted a certification indicating they are unemployed due to the pandemic. There’s an automated phone system where unemployed workers can certify.
The final 23,700 are those eligible for payments in the most-recent round, but were not in August. They will receive a secure DocuSign email form from the state’s Department of Labor.
New Yorkers who are pre-qualified for the second round of LWA benefits or who must certify and submit their certification by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22nd, will receive their payments next week. Those who submit their certification at a later date will be paid on a rolling basis.