Mass. Unemployment Benefits to Get $300 Weekly Boost

FEMA approved the state’s application for money through the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program

A person files an application for unemployment benefits

Massachusetts residents who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to receive up to an additional $900 in aid thanks to a federal grant award, state officials announced Monday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a Massachusetts application for money through the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program, funding an extra $300 weekly payment on top of existing benefits for Bay State recipients who qualified in the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.

Both those on standard unemployment insurance and on the expanded eligibility Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program -- which covers gig workers and others who normally cannot access benefits -- will receive the additional payments if they qualified for aid in the weeks covered, according to a spokesperson for the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

“The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has already begun work on the technology requirements necessary for this program and anticipates being able to quickly deliver retroactive funds to eligible claimants in the coming weeks," officials wrote in a press release.

Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project, talks about the impact of the federal stimulus checks amid pandemic and how the economy could further tailspin if the assistance package isn't extended by Congress.

“Most claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take any action because the Commonwealth will automatically add LWA to their weekly benefit payment retroactive to the dates they are eligible."

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President Donald Trump authorized FEMA this month to use up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to help states cover lost wage payments, and Massachusetts officials submitted an application last week.

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