Kansas begins to process payments for Lost Wages Assistance Program

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Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 3:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansans may be seeing their lost wages soon thanks to the Lost Wages Assistance Program.

Governor Laura Kelly says on Friday, Oct. 2, the Kansas Department of Labor will begin accepting self-certification and processing payments to eligible unemployed workers under the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program.

“Short term, the Lost Wages Assistance program will help provide critical support to unemployed Kansans due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “I urge the Senate to pass legislation to extend federal benefits to those still in need.”

According to Gov. Kelly, President Donald Trump issued an executive memorandum that authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to spend up to $44 billion from its Disaster Relief Fund to provide lost wage assistance to residents receiving unemployment benefits. She said FEMA approved an award total of $116 million to help Kansans that lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said for those eligible, payments will be retroactive to the week ending Aug. 1. She said the KDOL was notified by FEMA that the funds will be available through the week ending Sept. 5.

Gov. Kelly said to be eligible, a claimant must self certify their unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She said if KDOL confirms eligibility, the claimant will get the payment for each week of the LWA program, as long as the person remains eligible and funds remain available.

According to Gov. Kelly, claimants are able to self certify by logging into their unemployment benefits account or by calling one fo the unemployment contact center phone numbers listed on its website.

Gov. Kelly said the program will provide those eligible with an additional $300 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits. She said she proposed the $400 option for LWA as a way to get more money into the hands of unemployed Kansans. She said on Sept. 2, the SPARK Taskforce agreed to the proposal and to spending $63 million in CARES Act funds to help Kansans. She said on Sept. 3, legislative leaders on the State Finance Council rejected that proposal and in response, she ordered KDOL to apply for the $300 option, which does not require SPARK or SFC approval to begin.

According to the Kansas Governor, since March 15, KDOL has paid out over 2.5 million weekly claims which total over $2 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs.

For more information, or to apply for unemployment benefits, click here.

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