Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Definition
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), established by the CARES Act, temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers.
- You must provide self-certification that you are able to work and available for work, and that you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work due to a COVID-19-related situation.
- Benefit amounts are calculated based on previous earnings, using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program under the Stafford Act.
- Those who are eligible for PUA can also receive $600 per week through July 31, 2020, under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
- States may not be ready to process claims for freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors for awhile, but workers will be eligible for retroactive benefits
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program runs from Jan. 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. It extends unemployment benefits to eligible self-employed workers, including:
- Freelancers and independent contractors
- Workers seeking part-time work
- Workers who don’t have a long-enough work history to qualify for state unemployment insurance benefits
- Workers who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for benefits under state or federal law
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and How to Apply
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits—including regular unemployment compensation—will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through July 31, 2020.
- How to Apply for Federal Pandemic Unemployment CompensationTo apply for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, you must file a claim for regular benefits with the UI program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, you can file a claim in person, online, or over the phone; most states recommend filing online. When you file a claim, you must provide your Social Security number, contact information, and details about your former employment. To find out the rules in your state, check with your state’s unemployment insurance program.