Frequently Asked Questions About Receiving Supplemental Payments for Lost Wages

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States and territories with questions about the grant and how to administer the program can contact the FEMA Individuals and Households Help Desk.

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

In an effort to help ease the financial burden on those who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum on August 8, 2020 authorizing FEMA to use the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (“Stafford Act”) disaster relief funds to provide supplemental payments for lost wages.

DUA is very limited and only available to individuals who aren't eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI). The President’s authorization for a $300 lost wages payment from FEMA is for a supplemental payment on top of UI paid by the state, territory and the District of Columbia. Also, DUA is limited to what regular UI in the state, territory and the District of Columbia would pay out so it can't be used to supplement regular UI.

No, there is no concern about duplication of benefits as these are supplemental payments that do not duplicate state, territory and the District of Columbia unemployment insurance benefits.

This is a cumulative $44 billion, inclusive of administrative costs. FEMA is working to ensure funding is made available for all interested states, territories or District of Columbia on an equitable basis based on estimated unemployment rates by state/territory.

The only category of ONA authorized by the President for COVID-19 declarations is supplemental lost wages payments. Authorization of additional assistance remains under consideration.

The period of assistance is the week ending August 1, 2020 to December 27, 2020 or termination of the program, whichever is sooner. Assistance from FEMA for providing supplemental payments for lost wages may terminate prior to December 27, 2020 if:

  1. FEMA expends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) for supplemental lost wages assistance.
  2. The total, unobligated balance of the DRF decreases to $25 billion,
  3. Legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplemental federal pandemic unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals.

Yes, grant applications and completed administrative plans must be received by September 10, 2020 in order to be considered for a grant. States, territories and the District of Columbia are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible as program funding is limited.

FEMA grants for lost wages supplemental payments will continue until the earlier of:

  1. FEMA expends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).
  2. The total unobligated balance of the DRF decreases to $25 billion.
  3. Legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or partially-employed individual.
  4. December 27, 2020 which is the end of the period of assistance for the grants.

FEMA will use data from the Department of Labor, as well as state, territory or District of Columbia data received on applications to project the overall funding distributions. Approved grant applicants will receive an initial obligation of three weeks of needed funding. Additional disbursements will be made on a weekly basis in order to ensure that funding remains available for the states who apply for the grant assistance.

The timeframe to administer funding to individuals will vary by applicant. States, territories and the District of Columbia must adjust their unemployment insurance system to access these funds and accommodate program requirements, such as claimant eligibility, which may factor into delivery time state/territory systems and capabilities vary. The Department of Labor estimates an average of three weeks from Aug. 8, as states, territories and the District of Columbia adjust their systems concurrently with FEMA’s review process. However, at least one state has estimated it will have all payments out retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020, in less than one week from grant award.

Last updated February 17, 2022