What's next for LWA payments in New York?

Posted at 11:50 PM, Sep 21, 2020

(WKBW) — A harsh warning came from the governor’s office Monday morning over a press conference call after processing issues led to delayed Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) payments through KeyBank on Friday.

“We have had conversations with KeyBank. I think that saying we had conversations is downplaying it. They’ve been read the riot act,” said Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.

According to the State Labor Department, more than 2 million New Yorkers collecting unemployment are eligible for a second round of LWA payments this week.

The department says this will be “the second and final round of LWA funding” through FEMA.

“The extra $300, the extra $600, yeah it’s been great. It’s a good shot in the arm for the economy and all the things that it’s intended to do. But as an individual if you’re not careful, it’s going to generate some tax,” said Tim Eliason with EG Tax Service. The tax expert was referring to New Yorkers who earn more collecting unemployment than their regular jobs.

Eliason said he has been working with people also receiving social security or had a part time job.

“If it makes too much of an increase in their income outside social security then it makes some of their social security taxable,” said Eliason.

His advice to those collecting unemployment is simple. “I hope they are doing the withholding….And you throw that extra $10-$12,000 on their income and when they go to re-certify for things or they go to do their taxes they better be ready,” said Eliason.

The second round of the $300 LWA payments only covers through September 6th. After that, Eliason said it looks like it will be up to Congress.

Last week, Republican Congressman Tom Reed and 49 other members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus introduced a stimulus frameworkwith $120 billion for unemployment assistance.

The 13 week proposal for unemployment aide comes in two part, starting mid-October: $450 dollars weekly or eight weeks and then “up to $600 a week - without exceeding 100% of previous wage.”

Congressman Reed released this statement on the framework:
“Since unveiling our proposal last week, the Problem Solvers “March To Common Ground” framework has received significant support from the White House and Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. Whether it’s a longer term to solution federal unemployment aid, funding for our state and local governments, or additional support for working families across the country, our plan demonstrated it’s possible to reach a consensus on a number of pressing economic issues facing the nation,” said Rep. Reed. “We will continue to push both parties to agree on a bipartisan stimulus deal that delivers the relief this country needs because millions of Americans are counting on Congress to act.”

Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins disagrees. He released this statement:
“The House of Representatives passed legislation in May to address the comprehensive scope of problems - both health and economic - that have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That legislation, the Heroes Act, extends pandemic unemployment insurance to the tens of millions of people forced out of work. However, the Heroes Act has been held up in the United States Senate, where we are still waiting for further action. While other proposals are welcome, the fact remains that the Senate simply needs to act, and has not."

Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs wrote he wants a targeted relief bill - whether it is Reed’s framework or another. More in his statement:
"I have been a vocal advocate for the critical need of a targeted relief bill, and the March to Common Ground framework addresses some of the most pressing needs facing Americans including an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, funding for schools and childcare centers, broadband access, agriculture aid, and targeted funding for localities. Whether it's this framework or another - I have urged Speaker Pelosi to stop holding up aid and resume negotiations, and I will continue to do so,” - Congressman Chris Jacobs.