Some jobless NJ residents have been sent $1B in cash from FEMA
New Jersey residents who were out of work late this summer due to the pandemic have been sent another round of federal money. The state has processed $1.2 billion in payments for the Lost Wage Assistance program.
The LWA program was paid through FEMA in a single lump-sum payment and is separate from other unemployment programs. It has provided an additional $300 per week for up to six weeks of benefits, for a maximum cumulative benefit of $1,800.
People who were unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and were eligible for at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits between the week ending Saturday, Aug. 1, and the week ending Saturday, Sept. 5, were eligible for the LWA program.
More than 800,000 NJ workers were unemployed for at least part of that six-week period covered by the program and were eligible, according to labor officials.
The state Labor Department this week said that the payments took "longer than anticipated" to go through, as it was processed using newly developed programming.
Most had already declared their joblessness to be COVID-related and thus were in line to receive the benefit automatically.
Those who had not affirmed a COVID-related reason for their unemployment were required to do so by Oct. 16, and had been sent emails, text messages and calls from the department with instructions.
The initiative through FEMA was outlined in terms of a memorandum that President Donald Trump issued on Aug. 8.
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development submitted an application for the program in late August, which was approved by FEMA on Sept. 4.