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Fema Unemployment Insurance Payments And Reemployment Services

Oct. 30, 2020
No. 20-37

JUNEAU, Alaska — The application for State of Alaska participation in the new FEMA Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program of $300 in weekly benefits for up to six weeks was approved in early September 2020. At that time, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the program would be operational in six to eight weeks.

The following points outline some of the issues that concern this new round of funding:

  • The LWA Program is not an Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. Consequently, U.S. DOL is requiring that the State of Alaska not comingle FEMA funding with UI Trust Funds. This requires a new IT coding for accounting and reporting. 
  • The current UI system is not designed for funds to be dispersed from any sources other than UI.
  • Programs provided for under the Cares Act are UI benefit programs. The previous $600 weekly federal benefit was disbursed through traditional UI systems.
  • FEMA funding is unique requiring an entire system to be built with separate accounting and financial reporting requirements. 
  • Reimbursement is not allowed. The state cannot pay from UI Funds and request reimbursement.   
  • UI is in the final stages of testing EFT payments.  
  • Retroactive lump sum payments will be made rather than the normal weekly benefit.

"We understand that many Alaskans are in a very difficult financial situation, and we are working to get payments out as soon as possible," said Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter. "If you are out of work, please also consider reaching out to the department’s Reemployment Services. Many are surprised to learn of the full range of employment and training services available."

Collectively known as the Alaska Job Center Network, labor exchange services are delivered through the 14 Alaska Job Centers located across the state. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development collaborates with multiple partner agencies to provide universal access and services to employers, job seekers and workers who seek unique training objectives. If you are out of work, connect with a local Job Center by calling (877) 724-2539.