FEMA Boost to Unemployment Benefits Has Ended

Virus Outbreak Louisiana
Recipients sign in to receive food at a July food pantry in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE – The federal program meant to help workers who lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response has ended.

The White House authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to spend up to $44 billion to add $300 per week to the unemployment benefits of qualified workers. The money ran out before claimants in some states got their first check.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has paid out $376 million in Lost Wages Assistance, the LWC says.

LWC received funding for the week ending Aug. 29 on Friday and says it will begin processing those claims immediately. The LWC has requested funding for the week ending Sept. 5, which will be the program’s final week.

New unemployment claims in Louisiana increased last week to 24,566 from the week ending Aug. 29, when the total was 16,191. For a pre-pandemic comparison, during the week ending Sept. 7, 2019, 1,683 initial claims were filed.

The unemployment insurance continued claims for the week ending Sept. 5 increased to 256,184 from the previous week’s total of 249,610. By comparison, there were 15,215 continued claims for the week ending Sept. 7, 2019.

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