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Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

​​Federal CARES Act Update

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) additional $600 benefit payments will be ending on July 25, 2020. Please visit our Federal CARES page for more information and resources.

PUA Payment Update 

Important Information For PUA and PUA-related FPUC

Please Note: This Information Has Been Updated as of June 29, 2020

As part of efforts to combat recent fraudulent activity, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department (Treasury) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) are transitioning recipients of unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs to payment by electronic deposits on debit cards.

You may have previously received one or more weeks of payments in the form of checks. Treasury and L&I implemented payment by check as an immediate, but temporary, response to reports of fraud. Payment by check, however, is a slow and resource-intensive method of distributing benefits, and is also subject to the delivery schedules of the U.S. Postal Service.

PUA CLAIMANTS WHO ALREADY HAVE A U.S. BANK RELIACARD

Treasury has already resumed making payments on debit cards for PUA claimants who previously received a U.S. Bank ReliaCard.1

PUA CLAIMANTS WHO HAVE NOT REQUESTED A U.S. BANK RELIACARD

ReliaCards, which provide a secure, reliable, and prompt method of delivering funds, are being mailed to you at this time. You should expect to receive your card starting from about June 19, 2020, until July 7, 2020. 

You do not need to do anything to obtain your U.S. Bank ReliaCard. It will be delivered to you automatically. The ReliaCard will arrive in a plain envelope, with a postmark from Indianapolis, IN. You should be careful not to discard this piece of mail. Please see the entire notice for information and details. 


PUA Weekly Certification Update

PUA claimants will notice a federally-required change in the weekly claim application for benefits, which was added to Pennsylvania’s PUA application on Friday, June 12. The U.S. Department of Labor requires individuals to certify for each week of PUA benefits claimed that they are unemployed for at least one of the COVID-19 reasons provided in Section 2102 of the CARES Act

If at any time you are no longer unemployed for one of the COVID-19-related reasons included in Section 2102 of the CARES Act, or your unemployment is due to reasons other than one of these specific pandemic-related reasons from Section 2102 of the CARES Act, then you are no longer eligible for PUA benefits. At that point, you should simply stop filing for weekly PUA benefits.

As an important reminder because individual situations may change over time, the reason(s) for unemployment which you initially provided is not required to match the reason(s) you remain unemployed.


In general, PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits.
 
Individuals covered under PUA include the self-employed (e.g. independent contractors, gig economy workers, and workers for certain religious entities), those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits.

PUA is only for individuals who are unemployed due to COVID-19 reasons – it does not cover individuals without an attachment to the labor market or those who are unemployed for non-COVID-19 reasons. This benefit is only for individuals who would otherwise be working but are unable to because of the current pandemic.

To learn more about the PUA program refer to the COVID-19 PUA Pamphlet (PUA-5) or visit our PUA FAQs

For information about the PUA System, visit our PUA System FAQs
 

Filing an Initial Claim for PUA

Make sure to review the PUA System Guide or our PUA Claimant Assistance Guide for helpful information on what to have ready to prepare for registering and filing your initial claim and how to navigate the PUA system, dashboard and services. You’ll also want to collect proof of 2019 Net Income earnings documents in advance.  Form 1040, Schedule 1 is the preferred document. Other acceptable documentation of wages to calculate your 2019 Net Income can include but is not limited to:
  • ​2019 tax returns;
  • your 2019 1099 form(s);
  • paycheck stubs;
  • bank receipts;
  • ledgers;
  • contracts;
  • invoices; and/or
  • billing statements.

You do NOT need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the PUA system, you will have the username and password that you create.

You will NOT receive a confirmation email after submitting your initial PUA claim, you can go into the PUA dashboard to see the claim.

You CAN manage everything through your PUA dashboard - check on your claim status, upload documents, see payment information, etc.


File for PUA

Filing your Weekly Certification for PUA Benefits 


You can refer to the PUA System Guide, the PUA Claimant Assistance Guide or we’ve created two helpful screenshot guides to help you through the process:
 
You need to file your PUA certifications WEEKLY to get paid. An unemployment week is Sunday through Saturday, so the first day you can file your weekly claim is on Sunday. You don’t have to file on Sunday – you can file your weekly claim any day Sunday through Friday.
 
After the first payment, you will receive weekly PUA payments typically within three business days after filing your weekly certification.


File PUA Weekly Certification


Call us at 855-284-8545 if you have issues with your PUA claim Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This phone line is for PUA claimants only. We will not be able to assist callers with regular UC questions.

If you have questions or need assistance, please email UCPUA@pa.gov. This email address is for PUA questions only. Emails not related to PUA will not receive a response.