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Unemployed in Alabama? $300 per week in additional support on the way

Montgomery, Ala. – Alabamians receiving unemployment benefits will soon see an extra $300 each week, as Governor Ivey and Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington announced Alabama will submit an application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA) created by President Donald Trump through executive order earlier this month. “This additional program provided by the Trump Administration provides an opportunity for those who are still struggling with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to receive a boost in their unemployment compensation,” said Governor Ivey in a news release. “While Alabama continues to improve economically, we know that there are those who still need assistance. Alabama will work expeditiously to provide these needed funds as quickly as possible.”

The executive order was issued after Congress failed to pass an extension of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. With Congress in recess, Trump issued the executive order under a legal framework set up for natural disasters which allows additional unemployment benefits if states provide $100 (per individual, per week) in matching funds. The federal program will not impact Alabama’s shrinking unemployment fund, which has expended over half a billion dollars since the Spring.

To be eligible, recipients must be receiving at least $100 per week through an approved unemployment compensation program, and certify they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once the federal government approves Alabama’s application, the payments will be retroactive to August 1, 2020. “While Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to improve, and we continue to see declines in the number of people filing for unemployment compensation benefits, unemployment assistance can be a lifeline for those who have not yet returned to work or have had their hours cut significantly,” said Washington. “Alabama is pleased to be able to take part in this program and offer additional assistance to qualified recipients for as long as we are able.”

The Alabama Department of Labor will notify claimants via their Tracker and will email them if they are eligible for the payments. LWA payments will automatically be added to existing benefits in the same manner the recipient is currently receiving them. No additional application is necessary.

Alabama had a record low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent immediately preceding the pandemic. That number rose to 14 percent by April. Though the number was down to 7 percent in June, many workers in the hospitality, restaurant, and retail industries remain out of work or with substantially reduced hours.

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