comscore Kokua Line: Extra money flowing to 200,000 jobless; 5,401 claimants with low benefits are excluded | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Extra money flowing to 200,000 jobless; 5,401 claimants with low benefits are excluded

Question: Will we get Lost Wages Assistance in a lump sum, since it’s retroactive?

Answer: No, the $300 supplement is being paid a week at a time, for a total of six weeks, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Payments began Wednesday, for the week ending Aug. 1.

This amount is paid on top of a person’s unemployment compensation, but only if their weekly benefit amount was at least $100 for the applicable week and they had certified by Sept. 20 that their unemployment or partial unemployment was due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

In Hawaii about 200,000 people qualified for the first week, while 5,401 people were excluded because their weekly benefit amount was too low, said Bill Kunstman, a DLIR spokesman.

A person eligible for all six weeks would receive a total of $1,800 by the end of October. LWA is subject to federal and state income taxes, which recipients should plan for; none will be deducted.

The DLIR estimates that it will pay out more than $370 million in LWA funds over the course of six weeks. Here is the payment schedule; it might take three business days for funds to be deposited after issuance:

>> Sept. 23, 24, 25: For week ending Aug. 1

>> Sept 29, and Oct. 1, 2: For week ending Aug. 8

>> Oct. 6, 7, 8: For week ending Aug. 15

>> Oct. 13, 14, 15: For week ending Aug. 22

>> Oct. 20, 21, 22: For week ending Aug. 29

>> Oct. 27, 28, 29: For week ending Sept. 5

People whose unemployment claims are still pending with the department won’t get this money later, even if they are found to have met the criteria, the DLIR said. The funding comes from a finite Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

Q: I can’t get an appointment on AlohaQ.org. I tried every location. This is a nightmare. My license expires next week.

A: We heard all day from people in the same boat, unable to get an appointment at Honolulu County’s driver’s license centers or satellite city halls for myriad essential tasks.

The Department of Customer Services is dealing with a backlog of tens of thousands of customers, including 34,000 whose appointments were canceled during Oahu’s most recent pandemic shutdown, which ended Thursday.

On Wednesday, Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation that extends the effective dates of expired or expiring driver’s licenses and state IDs through Oct. 31. That extension helps you, but it’s not enough time to cover everyone needing assistance.

The city is expanding service hours for customers whose appointments were canceled, and contacting them directly to reschedule. Others are directed to check honolulu.gov/csd to see whether they can handle their task online, by mail or at a supermarket kiosk (at that site, click on “Changes to Operations”). When none of those are options, it’s back to AlohaQ and the appointment search.

The department is trying to expand service by mail. We hope to have more information about that next week.

Note: The Wahiawa Driver Licensing Center remains closed to in-person service because a clerk tested positive for COVID- 19 last week, the city said. It is scheduled to reopen Thursday, but only for road tests; all other appointments are being rescheduled to the Kapolei Driver Licensing Center, effective Thursday.

Q: Since my appointment was canceled, will they waive the late fee for my motor vehicle registration?

A: No, because you could have renewed on time by mail, online or at a supermarket kiosk, according to the city.

Mahalo

A very appreciative thank you to the woman (name unknown) who turned in my handbag at the Pearl City Sam’s Club on Thursday. Your integrity speaks volumes about the wonderful person you must be. — Forever grateful, E.V.


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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