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Federal CARES Act

What you need to know and do about the federal CARES Act and Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act

In December 2020, Congress passed and the President signed the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (CAA).  This legislation extends the UC programs created by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into 2021.  The CAA also added a new unemployment program - the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program (MEUC) for certain unemployed individuals engaged in self-employment.  Please note that individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments may not receive MEUC payments.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs have been extended through March 14, 2021. Claimants with benefit weeks remaining may receive PUA and PEUC through April 10, 2021. 

The FPUC program provides $300 of additional UC benefits to eligible individuals.

The MEUC Program provides $100 of additional UC benefits to certain eligible individuals who are also engaged in self-employment.

For specific details, read our Notice of CARES Act Programs Potentially Available to You.

​Lost Wages Assistance Program

The deadline to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program has passed. For more information on federal supplemental benefits for unemployed workers, refer to the section on the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - For UC Benefit Exhaustees
An additional 24 weeks of UC benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks already provided, for a total of 50 weeks of coverage. Please note that PEUC benefits will phase out beginning on March 14, 2021. Claimants with benefit weeks remaining after March 13, 2021 will receive PEUC payments through the benefit week ending April 10, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Self-Employed, Contractors
Expanded eligibility up to 50 weeks for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for UC benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors) 
​Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) - For eligible regular UC, PEUC, or EB claimants with a self-employment history
MEUC provides $100 in extra benefits to individuals with at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment during the applicable tax year. 


The Federal CARES Act Pennsylvania Guidance PDF includes information on what you need to know and do. 

If you have already been approved for UC benefits, here is what you should do:

    • Do nothing – your benefits will automatically be updated. DO NOT CALL, it will only make it difficult for others to reach an agent.
What you may qualify to receive under FPUC
    • An additional $300/week until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020)
What you may qualify to receive under MEUC
    • An additional $100/week (MEUC) for eligible claimants with a self-employment history until March 13, 2021 (beginning January 2, 2021)


If you’ve exhausted 26 weeks of benefits after July 6, 2019, here's what you should do:

    • Individuals whose unemployment benefit year has expired. Your benefit year expires one year (52 weeks) after your regular unemployment application for benefits date.  Apply for PEUC online.
    •  Individuals who are still within their unemployment benefit year do NOT need to apply. Once you receive the balance of your regular unemployment benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in the PEUC program for the additional 24 weeks of benefits.
What you may qualify to receive
    • 24 weeks of benefits
    • An additional $300/week (FPUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020) 
    • An additional $100/week (MEUC) for eligible claimants with a self-employment history until March 13, 2021 (beginning January 2, 2021)


If you are NOT traditionally eligible for UC benefits, you may be eligible for PUA, here's what you should do:

    • You should first try to file for regular unemployment
    • If you are denied or ineligible, then apply for PUA online.
What you may qualify to receive
    • 50 weeks of PUA benefits
    • An additional $300/week until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020)
 

UC and Federal CARES program progression PDF

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Program Progression

Understanding the Programs & How to get Benefits

The U.S. Department of Labor directs the order of Unemployment Compensation programs. You will need to apply, and exhaust all benefits available under each of the below programs before being eligible to apply for the next program.

1.     Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation – Up to 26 Weeks of Benefits

    • Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits are available to individuals who have lost their job or had hours reduced through no fault of their own and are found financially eligible. Visit www.uc.pa.gov and select "File an Initial Claim" to apply.
    • Eligible to receive $300/week (FPUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020).
    • May be eligible to receive $100/week (MEUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after January 2, 2021).

2.     Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – 24 Weeks

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) becomes available after regular UC benefits are exhausted. Visit www.uc.pa.gov/PEUC to learn about applying.
    • Weekly Benefit Amount based on regular unemployment claim.
    • Eligible to receive $300/week (FPUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020).
    • May be eligible to receive $100/week (MEUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after January 2, 2021).

3.     Pennsylvania Extended Benefits (EB) – Up to 13 Weeks

    • Extended Benefits becomes available after regular UC benefits and PEUC benefits are exhausted.
    • Weekly Benefit Amount is based on regular unemployment claim.
    • Number of Extended Benefit Weeks are typically 50 percent of the amount of regular UC claim weeks you were financially eligible to receive (e.g. regular UC claim eligibility for 23 weeks, means you'll receive 11.5 EB weeks of benefits.)
    • There is no application, EB-eligible claimants will receive a letter in the mail after their PEUC claim is exhausted.
    • EB claimants will simply file their weekly certification as they did for regular UC and PEUC.
    • Eligible to receive $300/week (FPUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020). 
    • May be eligible to receive $100/week (MEUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after January 2, 2021).

4.    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Up to 50 Weeks

    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is payable for weeks of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work caused by one of the 11 COVID-19 related reasons set forth in the CARES Act, beginning on or after January 27, 2020. Visit www.uc.pa.gov/PUA to apply.
    • Weekly Benefit Amount is based on 2019 taxes, 1099's, W-2, or any additional documentation that will verify 2019 earnings.
    • Eligible to receive $300/week (FPUC) until March 13, 2021 (beginning after December 26, 2020). 

 The guidance from this document is subject to change.
Last updated: February 12, 2021