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Unemployment grant money runs out without a replacement

Posted at 9:27 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 22:29:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Donald Trump’s Lost Wages Assistance grant has ended after six weeks of payments, leaving many wondering what’s next?

The entire time Congress has been on break, the LWA grant has come and gone. Six weeks is all it lasted, once almost every state began accepting their chunk of the $44 billion up for grabs.

The payments were retroactive to August 1; so many of those eligible got a lump sum payment of $300 per week for three weeks. Once that money was sent out, Tennessee state officials began applying for more each week as long as it was available.

“The way the program works with FEMA is you have to first pay the benefits, know how many people are getting benefits, let FEMA know how many people are going to get benefits, then they send you the money,” Chris Cannon said.

Cannon works for the Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development says the state’s last application is still awaiting approval but would pay up to last Saturday. Meaning some people may still see another payment of up to $300 coming in.

"Everybody will go back to receiving either their state unemployment benefit or the weekly amount they have for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or extended benefit," Cannon said.

Cannon says the state began sending out notices to remind people they need to log on to the Jobs4TN site and restate that you are out of work because of COVID-19. That way you won’t lose out on any of the remaining LWA money you’re entitled to.

Carolyn McKeown who has just received the first lump sum payment says it’s unacceptable to hear there was no plan moving forward.

“It just seems like there’s just a perpetual problem and they’re not addressing it,” McKeown said.

She like many others have counted on the LWA money, but she says she would rather have a job. McKeown has applied for jobs through the Jobs4TN website and hasn’t had much luck finding a job paying what she would consider a living wage.

“We need living wages and sustainable jobs to move forward. That’s what would help and that’s what people are asking for,” McKeown said.

Senate leaders will have to start over on what’s been called the “skinny” stimulus bill after it failed to pass earlier Thursday.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was the lone Republican who voted against the bill that would have offered $300 a week through December 27. Half of what Democrats originally proposed months earlier.