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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

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What is PUA?

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance  (PUA) provides up to 79 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.

PUA benefits are only for individuals who are unemployed due to COVID-19 reasons, it does not cover:

    • Individuals without an attachment to the labor market, or
    • Individuals who are unemployed for non-COVID-19 reasons.

Factors to consider before applying for PUA

You may be eligible for PUA benefits, but being eligible for PUA is not automatic. 

If at any time you re-qualify for another program, you must stop filing for PUA and apply for the other program. If your UC benefit year has ended, you should file a new regular UC claim to see if you qualify before opening a PUA claim.

PUA is only for individuals who would otherwise be working but are unable to because of the current pandemic. To see if you're eligible, review:

PUA is payable for a maximum of 79 weeks of benefits, but you must subtract any claim weeks for which you were paid at least $1 of your regular UC or Extended Benefits since February 2, 2020. PEUC weeks are excluded. 

    • For example, if you received 18 weeks of UC payments and 9 weeks of EB payments, you may be eligible for 52 weeks of PUA (79 possible PUA weeks – 18 UC weeks – 9 EB weeks = 52 PUA weeks).
    • The week ending September 4, 2021, is the last payable week of the PUA program, regardless of how many weeks of benefits you may have remaining in your balance.

When completing the PUA application, remember that you do not financially qualify for regular UC if your UC benefit year is still active and you claimed all your available UC, PEUC, and EB benefits. 

Groups who should NOT File for PUA*

  • Retired, with no job and no job offer
  • Individuals who were not working at all or did not have a job offer
  • Inmates
  • Children who were not working in actual employment
  • Being paid to file other people's PUA application. This is ILLEGAL; report these individuals to the authorities
  • College students with no job and no job offer
  • Individuals on Social Security Disability with no work attachment
  • Claimants who work as an employee and should file UC
  • Individuals living in a halfway house on lockdown
  • Landlords
Infographic of individuals not eligible for PUA

Check out our infographic or watch our video that illustrates who is NOT eligible for PUA.

*Knowingly making false statements or omitting material facts to obtain PUA benefits to which you are not entitled will result in disqualification and repayment of all overpaid PUA and corresponding FPUC benefits. You may also be subject to criminal prosecution. 

You should file for PUA if, 

you are ineligible for regular UC because you have lost income due to COVID-19 and

    • are self-employed, or
    • are seeking part-time work, or
    • lack sufficient work history, or
    • have exhausted all rights to regular UC or extended benefits. 

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