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Program giving extra $300 in unemployment to end, benefits to return to pre-pandemic amount

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that funding for the program will stop after the week ending Sept. 5.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A program giving Tennesseans an extra $300 in unemployment benefits will soon come to an end, according to officials.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency told the Tennessee Department of Labor and Development that funding for the Lost Wages Assistance program will stop after the week ending Sept. 5.

Unemployment benefits starting the week ending Sept. 12 will only have the weekly benefit amount a claimant is eligible to receive through state or federal programs. In Tennessee, the maximum benefit return will return to $275, the pre-pandemic amount.

Officials said that the $44 billion grant that funded the program was depleted, causing the program to end. However, eligible claimants will still get the additional $300 payment for weeks ending Aug. 1 - Sept. 5.

Retroactive payments will be delayed by two weeks or more as the department works to approve the funding and process payments. Officials said they applied for funding to cover payments for the weekend ending Aug. 29. They said that payments for Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 will also have a lag time.

According to a release, FEMA approves funding on a week-to-week basis after the state determines how many claimants are eligible to receive LWA payments. The program is retroactive to Aug. 1 and the department automatically adds the $300 to the benefit payments.

To receive the additional LWA payment, a claimant must be out of work due to COVID-19, they must earn at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits, and they must complete their required weekly certifications.