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Archived News Article: Information may be out of date
September 16, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About the Lost Wages Assistance Program

Everything You Need to Know About the Lost Wages Assistance Program
Everything You Need to Know About the Lost Wages Assistance Program

What is the Lost Wages Assistance program?

In light of the declared national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the President authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide up to $44 billion from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments.

Lost Wages Assistance program is administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with FEMA. FEMA does not make these payments directly to individuals. The states and territories will distribute the funds through their unemployment insurance systems as a supplemental payment.

How do states apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program?

FEMA has provided states with complete instructions, required forms, and recommended templates to support the application process. These materials are currently available on and

To apply, states must submit:

  • Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance
  • SF-424A Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs
  • Provide a weekly benefits and claimant projection for each category of benefits listed for eligible individuals
  • SF-424B Assurances for Non-Construction Programs
  • Lobbying Form
  • SF-LLL Disclosure of Lobbying Activities
  • FEMA Form 010-0-11: Individuals and Households Program - Other Needs Assistance Administrative Option Selection that includes the correct selections for an ONA Lost Wages Grant
  • Indicate selection of $300 or $400 weekly supplemental lost wages payment to eligible individuals
  • New State Administrative Plan

Once approved, FEMA will obligate funds to the state. The states will then administer the lost wages payments through their unemployment office. States may provide supplemental lost wages payments to eligible individuals retroactively, beginning with the week of unemployment ending August 1, 2020. Visit FEMA’s website for a list of approved states.

How long does the program last?

FEMA grants for lost wages supplemental payments will continue until the earlier of:

  • FEMA expends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund; or
  • The total balance of the Disaster Relief Fund decreases to $25 billion; or
  • Legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or partially-employed individuals; or
  • December 27, 2020 – which is the end of the period of performance for the grants.

How can I find other assistance programs?

If you have recently experienced a major disaster – is here to help. Compare your eligibility for over 1,000 government benefits using the Benefit Finder, an online questionnaire, to discover assistance programs you and your family may be eligible for and learn how to apply. Browse the Employment and Career Development category to find more resources such as research opportunities, unemployment assistance, and veteran employment.

What other benefits can help me and my family?

There are many programs available to you and your family if you find yourself facing financial hardship. For example, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides grant funds to states and territories to provide families with financial assistance and related support services. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act temporarily enhances and expands unemployment insurance benefits through several key programs, including:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Visit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay informed on the federal response to the pandemic. To find other disaster-related resources, visit also publishes helpful, timely news articles to keep people informed about government benefit programs. To stay up-to-date on benefit program information, subscribe to the Compass Newsletter or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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