After just two weeks of distribution in Montana, the $400 Lost Wages Assistance Program from the federal government will be ending. The last payment will be for benefit week ending on Sept. 5.
The program was created by an executive order from President Trump to assist individuals who had lost their job as a result of the pandemic. It directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide $300 in lost wage assistance to states that made a $100 copay, making the total payment $400. Montana used CARES Act money to cover the state's $100 obligation.
Montana was one of the first states to take advantage of the program, with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) issuing the first payments on Aug. 26. The program retroactively covered payments from benefit week ending Aug. 1 through Aug. 19.
A total of six weeks were covered by the program, with jobless Montanans receiving around $59 million in total.
The duration of the Lost Wages Assistance program was dependent on the terms of the President’s Memorandum. DLI says most experts estimated funding would not extend beyond seven weeks.
DLI made nearly 51,000 Unemployment Insurance payments totaling almost $27M for the week of Aug. 31 through Sept. 4.