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HOPWA Income Exclusion: Unemployment Benefit from the August 8, 2020 Presidential Memorandum

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued the Presidential Memorandum: Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

This memorandum authorizes an additional $400 per week of unemployment benefit paid to claimants through the Lost Wages Assistance Program. The $400 weekly payment is funded by two sources:

  • The federal government contributes 75 percent (totaling $300)
  • The state can contribute the remaining 25 percent (totaling $100)

Some states have opted to pay only the federal portion of $300 per week, while other states have opted to pay the federal portion plus the state portion that equates to $400 per week.

The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program will exclude the $400 per week, or in some states $300 per week, unemployment benefit from the income calculation for participants. This specific unemployment benefit is excluded based on the Presidential Memorandum authorizing the federal contribution through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance under the Stafford Act which is normally excludable income.

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