NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The State Department of Labor announced that the funding for people to receive additional $300 for unemployment ended last week.
Joy Jones and Kyle Travis are dealing with a lot. The pandemic and unemployment is impacting every part of their lives.
“We’ve already lost our apartment due to COVID. We’re two months behind on our vehicle," Jones said. "And we needed that money so we don’t have our only vehicle repossessed."
It’s why they were glad to hear about funding for the Low Wages Assistance program, or LWA.
“This is emergency funds that our great President put into place for this specific reason right now with the virus, with everything, with everybody losing their jobs,” Jones said.
Jones and Travis filed their claim back in July. Travis is already receiving $275 and just got his first set of three LWA payments this week.
However, the couple said it took forever to receive their money. They want to know why it’s taking so long to get the rest.
“No one in the state has received the last two payments. We haven’t received the funds yet for the last two payments,” Spokesperson Chris Cannon said.
Cannon is clearing the air as to how the program works.
“FEMA had a specific amount of money, $44 million for all states to use to pay LWA payments, and we knew that going in, and we knew that wasn’t going to last very long,” Cannon said. "Estimates were it would last 5 to 7 weeks."
Cannon said FEMA approves LWA funding for Tennessee on a week-to-week basis.
“LWA payments are retroactive back to August 1. The state applied for the money to pay for August 1, August 8 and August 15,” Cannon said. "We received that money several weeks ago. We’re in the process of paying the week of August 22. So, there’s two weeks left."
Cannon said to expect a lag time. Retroactive LWA payments will be delayed by two weeks or more after the week ending date. Also, if you applied for unemployment because you were impacted by COVID-19, check your email.
“This past weekend, we sent messages to claimants who applied very early on, before the option to mark you were unemployed because of COVID-19 was on the computer system,” Cannon said. "We need those folks to respond to those messages to tell us that yes indeed they are unemployed because of COVID-19. Until they do that, we are not able to release their LWA payments. Once they go in and self-attest, 'Yes, I am unemployed because of COVID-19, then we can release those payments.'"
Depending on when the state received the funding from FEMA, the additional benefit could be combined to your weekly benefit payment, or, it could be deposited separately. It depends on when the state received the last bit of funds from the LWA program.