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Oregon Employment Department Has Not Applied for FEMA Help

Oregon’s Employment Department has not yet applied for federal lost wages assistance, an extra boost that could help Oregonians who lost their jobs months ago.

Through FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program, people would get $300 to $400 per week.

President Donald Trump signed an executive measure after the $600 a week federal unemployment subsidies ran out at the end of July.

Oregon Employment Department Acting Director David Gerstenfeld points out that getting the system up and running would be expensive for taxpayers, and only be useful for several weeks.  He said, “We really don’t want to be in a situation of doing our best to get the small benefit being offered now into people’s hands and that impeding our ability to get a more robust support system in place quickly.”

According to FEMA, the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program aims at easing the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.   President Trump authorized FEMA to spend as much as $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments.

FEMA says it is providing grants to participating states, territories, and the District of Columbia to administer delivery of lost wages assistance for which they will receive an additional amount up to 5% of the total grant award to cover their administrative costs.

The President’s authorization for FEMA to use the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to supplement the payment of lost wages as a result of COVID-19 is in addition to the $8.8 billion FEMA has already obligated to date in the fight against COVID-19.

The President has authorized the FEMA Administrator to provide grants to the states to make supplemental lost wages payments to those receiving unemployment insurance compensation.

A state may request assistance by submitting an application for a grant award to administer the supplemental payments for lost wages.

FEMA has provided states with instructions, forms, and templates to support the application process.

States may provide claimants a lost wages supplement of up to $400, composed of a $300 federal contribution from the Disaster Relief Fund and an additional amount up to $100 from state funds. The state-funded portion may be sourced from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security fund allocation. The total lost wages supplemental payment may not exceed $400.

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