BOSTON (11/2/2020) – The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed legislation to enhance unemployment benefits for 17,000 people in Massachusetts by as much as $1800 each. The legislation was signed into law by the Governor shortly after.
“The Senate is committed to helping the most vulnerable residents in our Commonwealth as we continue to confront the ongoing pandemic, and this bill reflects that commitment,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “During this difficult financial time, we need to do everything we can to support those in need so they can support themselves and their families.”
In August, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began accepting applications for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. The Trump White House included a restriction that banned people receiving less than $100 a week in benefits from receiving the LWA boost of $300 per week.
Massachusetts was approved for 6 weeks of LWA compensation for every eligible recipient, covering the weeks ending August 1 to September 5. Numerous states acted to increase weekly benefit amounts, including neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire, so that no recipient of unemployment would be left out of receiving the boost.
The legislation authorizes the Baker-Polito Administration to implement an increase to unemployment compensation for every recipient in Massachusetts not receiving at least $100 in weekly benefits. This enhancement will be applied retroactively to roughly 17,000 recipients.