CONNECTICUT, USA — Governor Ned Lamont announced Friday evening that Connecticut has submitted an application to FEMA for supplemental disaster wage unemployment benefits.
If the application is accepted, it will provide a $300 weekly wage supplement to existing unemployment benefits in response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA has been allowed to use up to $44 billion in Stafford Act disaster relief funds to help workers who have lost their income due to the virus.
“This will bring some much-needed assistance to Connecticut workers who have lost jobs due to the coronavirus,” Governor Lamont said. “It will add $300 to a claimant’s existing weekly benefit for as long as federal funds are available and help fill the hole left when the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program expired on July 26. It is important to remember that this is only a temporary backstop. It’s imperative that the Trump administration reach an agreement with Congress on comprehensive legislation that provides stable and long-term funding to supplement weekly unemployment benefits. I commend Connecticut’s Congressional delegation for their ongoing work to pass legislation that would provide permanent relief to residents.”
The program will require the state to establish an entirely new process for claimants to access the FEMA funding. New, existing state and extended benefits claimants must self-certify that they are eligible under the federal guidelines. Claimants who have already applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) have been already self-certified. The new benefit will be retroactive to the claim week beginning July 26, 2020, and will also be available for claim weeks starting on August 2, 2020, and August 9, 2020.
“This program will certainly provide some level of assistance to Connecticut’s weekly filers who, without the federal supplement, receive an average of $269.00 per week,” Connecticut Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “The Connecticut Department of Labor continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor to get this additional funding out to claimants as soon as possible. I appreciate Governor Lamont’s quick action to get the state engaged in this process.”
Eligible people must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the impact of COVID-19. Eligibility includes:
- Recipients of at least $100 per week of any of the following benefits for the week they are seeking unemployment benefits
- Claimants receiving unemployment compensation including state and federal workers and former service members as well as those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Extended Benefits, or High Extended Benefits
- Anyone who qualified for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
- Claimants receiving Short-Time Compensation
- Workers with a Trade Readjustment Allowance
If the application is accepted, the Department of Labor will disburse the money to the claimants. The DOL expects disbursement in mid-September and anticipates about 25,000 people who will be eligible for federal aid.
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