Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Submits Application To FEMA for Supplemental Disaster Wage Unemployment Benefits
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut has submitted its application for federal funding to establish a temporary program that will provide a $300 weekly wage supplement to existing unemployment benefits in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has been authorized to use up to $44 billion in Stafford Act disaster relief funds to assist workers who have lost their income due to the impact of COVID-19.
“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.”
“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.”
The program requires states to establish an entirely new process for claimants to access the FEMA funding. New unemployment claimants and existing state and extended benefits claimants will be required to self-certify that they are eligible under the federal guidelines. Existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have already self-certified. The additional benefit will be retroactive to the claim week beginning July 26, 2020, and will also be available for claim weeks beginning August 2, 2020, and August 9, 2020. Additional weeks are under review.
Eligible individuals 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; and
- Workers with a Trade Readjustment Allowance.
If the state’s application is approved by the federal government, FEMA will transfer the funding to the Connecticut Department of Labor, which will then disburse to eligible claimants. The agency anticipates disbursement in mid-September and expects about 250,000 claimants will be eligible for the federal benefit. The agency will mail letters to eligible claimants and release additional instruction and information as it becomes available.
FEMA has notified states that it will terminate the program once available federal funding is exhausted or if the federal government passes new legislation that replaces the program.