State House News – Phoenix, AZ: Office of the Governor reports 8.14.2020.

 Arizona is partnering with President Trump and his administration to extend unemployment benefits to nearly 400,000 Arizonans, making our state one of the first in the nation ready to make these benefits available to unemployment recipients.

Under an executive order signed by President Trump last weekend, Arizonans are eligible to receive unemployment benefits of $540 a week, with $300 per week provided through funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Arizona has applied for the funding, and expects approval quickly.

In addition to receiving $540 per week going forward, payments will be made retroactively for each week after July 26 where additional federal payments lapsed.

“I’m grateful to President Trump for stepping up and taking action to help Arizonans most in need,” said Governor Ducey. “As a result of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Arizona families and individuals are facing lost employment through no fault of their own, and these dollars will provide some immediate help. Now, we need members of Congress to work together, do their job, and extend these benefits for families relying on them.” 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020, added an additional $600 federal stimulus payment to weekly benefits starting on March 29 and expiring July 25. Under the President’s executive order, the enhanced payments, which come from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, are extended until December 6 or until dollars set aside in the fund run out. 

Since March, Arizona has paid out more than $8.5 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 1.1 million individuals during this pandemic. This includes more than 800,000 Arizonans who have received benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program established by the CARES Act. 

Background

On March 20, Governor Ducey issued an executive order ensuring individuals whose employment is affected by COVID-19 have access to unemployment benefits. The order: 

  • Waived the one-week waiting period after an employee loses a job before they apply for unemployment benefits.
  • Waived work search requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Added people who work at a business that has been temporarily closed or has reduced hours because of COVID-19, who have to quarantine because of COVID-19, or who have to care for a family member with COVID-19.
  • Waived any increase in employer payments to the unemployment insurance fund for businesses whose employees receive benefits under this provision.

On March 27, Governor Ducey signed legislation codifying these changes and applying them retroactively to March 10.

On July 21, Governor Ducey sent a letter to the Arizona Congressional Delegation requesting an extension of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.


DES Announces Launch of Lost Wages Assistance Program for Unemployed Arizonans Arizona Among First States to Make Additional Funding Available PHOENIX – (August 17, 2020) Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) announced today that Arizona has implemented the new Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program to provide unemployment benefits of up to $540 a week, with $300 per week provided through grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Arizona received approval on its application to FEMA, and DES began issuing funds to claimants today. On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued the Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019. This memorandum establishes LWA, which allows for temporary enhanced financial support to those whose jobs or wages have been adversely affected by COVID-19. LWA provides $300 per week to an eligible individual, in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from certain other Unemployment Compensation programs. Arizonans who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are currently receiving unemployment benefits from one of the following programs will be eligible to receive up to $540 a week, including $300 a week in LWA funds funded by FEMA: ● Unemployment Insurance (UI) ● Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) ● Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX) ● Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) ● Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) ● Extended Benefits (EB) ● Shared Work (SW) ● Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) LWA remains in effect until one of the following occurs: ● Enactment of federal legislation providing, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental Federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals; ● The $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund designated for LWA is exhausted; ● The Federal Disaster Relief Fund Balance reaches $25 billion; or ● The benefit week ending December 5, 2020 is reached LWA payments will be automatically added to the weekly benefit amount that claimants are currently receiving. Claimants do not need to file a separate application to receive LWA. The Department will make the LWA payments in the same manner as any payment from one of the above-listed programs payable for the week involved for all participating claimants. For claimants that certify multiple weeks, either LWA or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be applied depending on the time of the certification. The $300 LWA payment is subject to both federal and state income taxes. Visit www.azui.com to learn more about Arizona Unemployment Benefits and for additional updates and information about unemployment assistance programs in Arizona.