HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Starting today, Pennsylvanians who are receiving unemployment compensation due to losing their job as a result of the pandemic will begin receiving an extra $300 per week.
The relief comes after the federal government’s additional $600 per week ended in July.
Pennsylvania’s “Lost Wages Assistance Program” begins after July’s unemployment numbers show the commonwealth’s unemployment rate remains above 13%. Money for the program comes from FEMA and currently has $44 billion.
The Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry said the department finished implementing the program ahead of schedule.
Those that qualify and who have certified the pandemic caused them to lose their job will automatically receive the extra compensation.
“Everybody who is currently receiving unemployment, with very few exceptions, will qualify for that benefit,” said Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “You must be receiving at least $100 in unemployment compensation benefits to receive that extra $300.”
The Lost Wages Assistance Program is retroactive to Aug. 1 and those who qualify will receive a one-time lump sum payment for the five pay periods in August.
“If you are currently receiving benefits under the PUA — pandemic unemployment assistance program — or the shared work program, you don’t need to do anything,” said Oleksiak. “If you are receiving unemployment compensation benefits, the traditional benefits, then you will have to certify that your employment status has been impacted.”
However, it is important to note, the program is temporary and will run through December or until the funding from the federal government runs out.
The Department of Labor and Industry will announce the final payment date.
“It’s not a traditional unemployment compensation program will last until the $44 billion that has been allotted is used up,” Oleksiak said. “We are guaranteed 1.5 billion for the first three weeks of August, it’s retroactive to August 1st, after that we have to apply for the benefit and as long as the benefit is there we will continue to receive it.”
More details about the Lost Wages Assistance Program can be found on the state’s unemployment website.