Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a temporary Insurance benefit program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. PUA is a federal program that provides Unemployment benefits to people who are unable to work because of coronavirus pandemic. This is a 39 weeks Unemployment benefits program given to individuals who are self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors, individuals with limited recent work history or partially employed, and other employees who are covered by Regular Unemployment Insurance.

The pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) was signed into law on March 27, 2020 by releasing a $2 trillion COVID-19 emergency stimulus package to the federation. This is a program created alongside the CARES Act to provide Insurance assistance to individuals who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, to be eligible for PUA individuals must be available for work, able and ready to work in accordance with law of the state.

Who should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

  • Certain Independent contractors
  • Individuals who are Self-employed
  • Freelancers
  • Gig economy workers
  • Part-time workers with a limited work history.
  • Non-profit employees
  • Workers who didn’t qualify for state or federal benefits

How to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

To apply for PUA benefits, you must certify that you are able and ready to work and that you are partially employed or unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 problems below.

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and still having symptoms of COVID-19 and trying to get a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of your family has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • If you are providing care for a member of your family diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are providing a care-giving role for a child or other member of your household who can’t afford to go to school or get a care facility because it is closed as a result of COVID-19.
  • If you are not able to get to your place of work because you are subjected to a self-quarantine as a result of the COVID-19.
  • You are not able to reach your place of work because of the quarantine imposed on you as a result of COVID-19.
  • If you were scheduled to start a job and could no longer get the job as a result of COVID-19.
  • You have become the head of the family because the breadwinner of the household died due to COVID-19.
  • If you work as an independent contractor and the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, thereby forcing you to spend such activities.
  • You had to quit your job because of the impact of COVID-19 on you.
  •  Your place of work is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.

List of Documents Required to Apply for PUA

  • Your residential address
  • Social security number
  • Your A-Number (USCIS Number); this is for non-citizens of the United States
  • Telephone number
  • Your mailing address (if different from residential address).
  • Your email address
  • Earning records for 2019, which includes (a) 1099 forms (b) Pay stubs (c) Bank statements
  • Your birth date
  • Your bank account and routing numbers if you want to use direct deposit for payment.
  • The social security number(s) and date(s) of birth for your dependent children.

After submitting the following document and haven met the requirement, the claimant application will be accepted. The individual will initially receive the minimum weekly benefits amount, plus an additional $600 FPUC weekly benefit. One good thing about this benefit is that once a worker’s wages are verified, your weekly benefit amount.

On the contrary, if you are not eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, you will receive a disqualification message through your mail address. However, you can appeal the disqualification within 30 days.

Other Unemployment Programs under the Cares Act

  1. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – this is a temporary program that provides to claimants that have exhausted their regular Unemployment benefits.  
  2. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – this is a temporary emergency additional payment of $600 to individuals per week in unemployment benefits.
  3.  Extended Benefits – this is a program that provides additional unemployment to individuals who exhaust previous benefits. This is due to an increase in the state’s unemployment rate.
  4. Lost Wage Assistance – this is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program. The program provides an additional $300 per week to individuals due to COVID-19.

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