HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — More Connecticut workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were able to receive more federal benefits thanks to the help of Governor Ned Lamont.
On Thursday, Lamont said an executive order he signed last month that expanded the eligibility in the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program has resulted in 22,837 unemployed Connecticut residents being able to receive an additional $35 million in federal payments over the last several weeks.
The program offered an additional $300 in weekly benefits for six weeks in the summer of 2020 to claimants who were unemployed during the pandemic. To be eligible, the Trump administration required that all claimants must be receiving more than $100 per week in unemployment benefits, leaving thousands in the state unable to participate.
To rectify the situation, the governor signed Executive Order No. 9P, which went into effect on Dec. 4, 2020, and retroactively and temporarily increased weekly unemployment benefits to $100 for many Connecticut residents, enabling them to qualify for the program and receive the additional benefits.
“The $7.35 million investment by the state unlocked the five-to-one match from the federal government and provided the average participating claimant with more than $1,700 in assistance,” officials said in a release.
The program is expected to have generated more than $80 million in economic activity.
“What a difference this program made to those most in need of some good news this holiday season,” Lamont said in a news release. “Thanks to the hard work of our Connecticut Department of Labor, we were able to expand access to federal funding so thousands of Connecticut residents could better support themselves, their families, and the local economy. And thanks to the hard work of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, enhanced unemployment benefits are once again available to residents facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.”
“Expanding this program was the right thing to do, as thousands of filers were left out of the original program and many of these were low-wage earners,” Connecticut Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby added. “I applaud Governor Lamont and his team for working so hard to find a way to level the playing field for claimants and bring tens of millions of federal dollars into the state for our residents.”