KDOL: LWA program on track to be fully paid out by next week

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 19:35:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Department of Labor said the Lost Wages Assistance program is on track to be fully paid out by next week.

President Trump issued an executive memorandum in August to authorize FEMA to provide up to $44 billion to people who are unemployed due to the pandemic.

Governor Laura Kelly originally announced it would take Kansas several weeks to get the program up and running.

The Department of Labor began accepting self-certification applications Oct. 2. Claimants who were unemployed or partially unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic between the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 are eligible for the retroactive $300 weekly payments.

Several weeks since accepting self-certifications, acting labor secretary Ryan Wright said the program is going well. Wright said nearly 110,000 Kansans have self-certified.

"So far we've been able to make sure that we get that money out of our door and into people's bank accounts as soon as possible," Wright said. "We are on target to pay out the last week of eligible benefits under this program next week."

Wright said claimants shouldn't be surprised by inconsistent payments. The program pays out when claimants' self-certification is verified.

Shawnee resident Sabrina Dillard said she has yet to receive her first payment.

"There's nothing I can do but just wait and pray that it's coming," Dillard said.

Dillard said she self-certified and believes she is eligible so she doesn't understand why she hasn't received anything.

"I've got bills to pay, I'm on a payment plan with (Evergy), they don't want to wait, they want their money," Dillard said.

Several other claimants tell 41 Action News they have received their payments, some saying they received a third Friday. Claimants tell 41 Action News the inconsistency is frustrating and can make planning and budgeting challenging.

Wright said the LWA program isn't meant to be a long-term solution, which is why lawmakers need to come together.

"Most of the other benefit programs end at the end of this calendar year so we're hoping that congress comes back and makes some quick work of this so we can get some certainty out into the economy," Wright said.