CARSON CITY — The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced that with the goal of helping Nevadans facing unemployment due to the global pandemic, Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the authorization for Nevada to start the application process to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance Program created by President Donald Trump under Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
Last month, the president signed an executive order creating the LWA program, replacing the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation $600 weekly benefit that expired in July. Like many states are applying for this program, Nevada will seek the additional $300 for those that qualify but anticipates not being able to contribute the additional $100 per week due to budget concerns.
If approved for the new program, Nevada could offer an additional unemployment compensation benefit of $300 per week to eligible unemployment recipients. Only recipients who receive $100 or more in an approved Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program weekly benefit amount would be eligible under the terms of the LWA program. Additionally, they must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Due to the requirements of this new program, eligible claimants likely will not see payments until four to six weeks after Nevada’s application is approved. However, eligible claimants could see payments retroactive to Aug. 1.
If the state’s application is approved, Nevada will begin its plan to implement the program. The timeline for implementation will be driven by the following factors:
Development of another program to administer the grant while continuing to complete the updates and fine-tuning needed on the existing UI and PUA systems;
Identifying a funding source for any costs that would not be covered by the grant;
Ensuring all of the funds used to build, implement and operate the LWA program are kept separate from UI and PUA; and
Complying with federal grant reporting requirements involving identifying fraudulent claims and recovering all fraudulent payouts and overpayments to the Federal Emergency Management Agency within 90 days of the close of the program.
“DETR is moving forward with the LWA application process and welcomes any additional federal funding to assist Nevadans facing unemployment as a result of COVID-19. However, there are concerns that under the existing DOL guidance, not everyone who has already filed for unemployment will be eligible for this LWA benefit. We will do everything in our power to effectively implement this new program upon approval of our application, and we remain hopeful that Congress and the White House will reach a consensus on a
longer-term solution that will assist more Nevadans during this difficult time” said DETR Acting Director Elisa Cafferata.
Funding for this program comes from FEMA disaster relief funds. Guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that states should be able to receive approximately three weeks’ worth of benefits upon approval, with additional approval on a weekly basis, depending on the remaining balance of the fund.
States that accept the grants are obligated to pay 25% of the administrative costs on their own through state taxes or other revenues. Federal guidance prohibits states from tapping into their unemployment insurance administrative funds or trust fund to administer the program.
Nevadans who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are currently receiving at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits from one of the following programs will be eligible to receive $300 a week in LWA funds, if Nevada’s application is approved:
State Unemployment Compensation
Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Trade Readjustment Allowance.