COVID-19 unemployment boost may arrive mid-October

A program to boost unemployment benefits for Alaskans out of work because of the pandemic is still weeks away from implementation. 

In mid-August, the state was approved for a FEMA Lost Wages Assistance program that would give $300 in extra benefits to Alaskans who lost work during the pandemic. 

But that program isn’t expected to start processing payments until mid-October, according to Cathy Munoz, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor. 

And the $300 payments only go to workers who receive at least $100 in state benefits already. 

Alaska is one of just eight states that have applied for the Lost Wages Assistance program and haven’t yet implemented it according to Unemployment

While the program is taking more time than many states to stand up, eligible workers will receive benefits retroactively to July, when a separate $600 per month program expired, according to Munoz.

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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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