What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?
The term Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) refers to a program that temporarily extends unemployment insurance (UI) qualifications to those who are otherwise unqualified. This included self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. PUA was established by the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $ 2 trillion coronavirus emergency stimulus package signed by then-President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. It was one of the programs. This program expired on September 6, 2021, along with other employment-related programs that provide COVID relief.
- PUA was an employment-related program founded by CARESACT.
- It temporarily extended unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers.
- Due to the effects of COVID-19, individuals had to prove themselves unemployed, partially employed, unable to work, or unable to work.
- Benefits were calculated based on previous earnings using the Stafford Act disaster unemployment support program formula.
- PUA expired on September 6, 2021, after a total of 79 weeks.
PUA has extended unemployment benefits to eligible workers, including:
- Freelancer and independent contractor
- Workers working part-time
- Workers who do not have enough work experience to qualify for state unemployment insurance benefits
- Workers who would otherwise not be eligible for benefits under state or federal law
The program started on January 27, 2020 and was set to end on December 31, 2020 under the CARES Act. This was extended until March 14, 2021, when the Consolidated Expenditure Act was enacted on December 27, 2020.
PUA was given a new life again and added 29 weeks to the program after the Biden administration passed the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus US Rescue Plan Act in March 2021. PUA officially expired on September 6, 2021, after a total of 79 weeks. ..
PUA had a minimum profit equal to 50% of the state’s average weekly UI profit (about $ 190 per week).
You needed to provide self-certification that you can work and are available for work. Other eligibility criteria included being unemployed, partially employed, unable to work, or unable to get a job due to any of the following COVID-19 related situations:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been symptomatic and were about to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You have taken care of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You have taken care of a child or other household member who was unable to attend school or go to a long-term care facility due to the closure of COVID-19.
- You have been quarantined or your healthcare provider has advised you to self-quarantine.
- You were planning to start work, but you couldn’t or couldn’t get to work because of COVID-19.
- You have become the main earner of your household because the head of the household died as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- As a direct result of COVID-19, your workplace has been closed.
- You have met other standards set by the US Secretary of Labor.
Benefits were calculated based on previous earnings using the formulas for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
Many states have traced claims back to the date the worker first lost his job.
Unemployment program under the CARES Act
FPUC was a flat amount given to those who received unemployment insurance, including those who were checked for partial unemployment benefits. This applied to those who received benefits under PUA and PEUC. After the program was first extended by the December 2020 Consolidated Expenditure Act, the original $ 600 amount was reduced to $ 300 per week. Like PUA, FPUC expired on September 6, 2021.
|Unemployment program under the CARES Act|
|program||What it does|
|Pandemic Unemployment Support (PUA)||Extended benefits to self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors.|
|Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)||Extended benefits for up to 39 weeks after the regular unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted. Subsequent benefits were extended for 79 weeks.|
|Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)||Initially it offered a federal benefit of $ 600, but it has been reduced to $ 300.|
Federal law has granted considerable flexibility for states to amend the law to provide unemployment insurance benefits in some COVID-19-related situations. For example, the state could pay benefits if:
- COVID-19 temporarily closed the employer, preventing employees from going to work.
- The person was quarantined and expected to return to work after the quarantine was completed.
- People who quit their jobs because of the risk of being exposed to or infected with COVID-19, or to take care of their family.
Under federal law, COVID-19 did not require employees to be dismissed to receive benefits.
Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?
PUA was intended to help workers who are not covered by unemployment insurance. Examples of worker types covered by the PUA program include freelancers, part-time gig workers, and self-employed workers.
To qualify, the worker had to prove that he was unable to work due to one or more conditions associated with COVID-19. The program expired on September 6, 2021.
Were PUA and Unemployment Insurance (UI) the same?
No, PUA programs and UI programs are different. To qualify for PUA, the worker was unable to qualify for the UI. They were different programs, but the intent of both programs was the same: to provide financial support to the unemployed. For PUA, this program was specifically introduced for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because traditional UI programs have proven to provide insufficient support to non-full-time, non-full-time workers.
Did you get PUA and UI at the same time?
No, I couldn’t receive PUA and UI at the same time. The person who was the target of the UI was not the target of the PUA. Similarly, PUA was only available to workers who were not qualified for the UI.