Kansas seeks FEMA unemployment help, could mean $400 more for those who qualify

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly says her administration is going to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) unemployment funds, the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.

Earlier in August, President Donald Trump issued an executive memorandum for FEMA to use up to $44 billion from its Disaster Relief Fund to provide lost wage assistance to Americans receiving unemployment benefits.

Kelly says that if Kansas’ application is approved, the program will provide eligible claimants with an additional $400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits.

“While I had hoped that United States Senate would return early from vacation and extend federal benefits, I could not sit by idly while many Kansans are still facing unemployment,” Kelly said in a news release. “This is far from a perfect solution, but we want to use every tool available to protect Kansans and our economy. I’m asking the Kansas Department of Labor to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance Program, which is the only available option for additional federal assistance at this time.”

If Kansas gets the money, the Kansas Department of Labor estimates that claimants could start getting the benefits by late September at the earliest. For those who are eligible, the payments would be retroactive to the week ending Aug. 1.

The program is limited in scope and, due to federal restrictions, will only be available to those who are receiving at least $100 in unemployment benefits.

Unlike the $600 a week program that expired in July, a claimant must self-certify her or his unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

For more information, or to apply for unemployment benefits, go to www.GetKansasBenefits.gov.

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