Californians Will Soon Receive Their Supplemental $300 A Week Unemployment Benefits


By: Michelle Harrington

California has secured $4.5 billion from the Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWAP) that will result in a $300 per week boost in unemployment benefits to millions of unemployed people in California impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The funding was made possible through an executive order signed by President Donald Trump approximately a week after Congress’s Coronavirus relief measures expired in July, cutting off an extra $600 per week in unemployment payments for millions of Americans. Individuals who are currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits from the state may also now qualify for an additional $300 weekly supplement, paid for by the federal agency in charge of disaster relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA has been authorized to work with all states and pay up to $300 per week in extra unemployment benefits to eligible recipients on top of the unemployment benefits already being paid by the states. The extra $300 payments have been approved for only three weeks and are retroactive to the week beginning August 1, with the possibility for an extension if funds are available. 

It has been up to the states to apply through FEMA for the LWAP funding.  As of August 31, approximately three dozen states have applied and been approved. According to news reports and state unemployment websites, a handful of states including Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri have already begun sending out the extra $300 payments to eligible residents. 

When Will Californians Receive the Supplemental $300?

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) announced that it will start processing payments beginning the week of September 7. 

The first phase covers people who previously provided information that they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason on their initial application and have already received their regular state or federal unemployment payments for benefit weeks between July 26 and August 15.

The second phase will cover people who did not have the opportunity to indicate they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason on their initial application and still meet the minimum $100 weekly benefit amount eligibility requirement.

The EDD has indicated it will send notifications to people in the second phase, asking them to complete a one-time self-certification if they are unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Notifications will be sent by email, text message or mail starting in mid-September.

Who Is Eligible?

The EDD lists two specific requirements for individuals to receive the LWAP payments:

  1. currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits, and
  2. who have provided a self-certification that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

What Do Californians Have To Do To Get the Supplemental $300?

Individuals who are eligible to receive the LWAP payments should automatically receive them from the EDD, much like the earlier $600 federal unemployment supplement. 

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Michelle Harrington at