How you can File for Pandemic Unemployment Help in Each State

How to File for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in Every State

Be aware: This text has been up to date to replicate the brand new packages and provisions within the second stimulus bundle.

For the primary time nationally, unbiased contractors and gig staff can obtain unemployment advantages — via Pandemic Unemployment Help. Tens of millions of Individuals have relied on this program because it was created by the primary stimulus bundle in March 2020.

Relying in your state, PUA successfully expired on Dec. 26 or 27. On the 11th hour, lawmakers rallied to move a second stimulus bundle, extending this system for 11 weeks. Nevertheless, some states needed to pause making PUA funds as they carried out the brand new guidelines.

The Penny Hoarder seemed on the utility course of in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. when this system was first created. We compiled the knowledge into an interactive map that reveals you how you can file in every state, then up to date the knowledge primarily based on new provisions specified by the second stimulus bundle.

This information will clarify every little thing it is advisable find out about Pandemic Unemployment Help.

Right here’s a have a look at what’s included. (Click on a hyperlink to leap to the part you want.)

What Is Pandemic Unemployment Help?

Pandemic Unemployment Help was established by the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus bundle in March 2020 and was prolonged by the second stimulus bundle handed in December 2020.

PUA grants unemployment advantages to individuals who don’t sometimes qualify for his or her state’s common unemployment program. A complete new set of individuals are actually eligible for unemployment advantages — specifically gig staff, unbiased contractors and furloughed staff.

To be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Help, you should be absolutely or partially unemployed attributable to a number of of the next causes:

  • You may have been recognized with COVID-19 or have signs and are looking for prognosis.
  • A member of your family has COVID-19.
  • You’re taking good care of somebody with COVID-19.
  • You’re caring for a kid or different family member who can’t attend faculty or work as a result of it’s closed as a result of pandemic.
  • You’re quarantined by order of a physician or well being official.
  • You have been scheduled to start out employment and don’t have a job or can’t attain their office on account of the pandemic.
  • You may have grow to be the breadwinner for a family as a result of the pinnacle of family died attributable to COVID-19.
  • You needed to stop your job as a direct results of COVID-19.
  • Your office is closed as a direct results of COVID-19.
Professional Tip

When you have already exhausted your state’s Unemployment Insurance coverage advantages, you could obtain extra advantages via PUA.

Weekly PUA pays half of your state’s common unemployment cost. Common state funds vary from roughly $180 to $480, which means that you may count on PUA funds between $90 and $240 weekly.

If you’re permitted for a minimum of $1 in unemployment advantages, additionally, you will be eligible for a $300 weekly enhance for as much as 11 weeks and till March 14, 2021. This $300 boost is known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

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How the Second Stimulus Package Changes PUA

Initially, the CARES Act authorized PUA payments for a maximum of 39 weeks. The second stimulus package extended PUA to 50 weeks total — or 11 extra weeks.

PUA now sunsets on March 14, 2021, unless extended by Congress and the Biden administration. Those who haven’t exhausted their PUA benefits as of March 14, 2021, may continue receiving benefits until April 5, 2021.

One new and notable limitation: PUA used to be available retroactively as far back as January 2020. The new stimulus law tightens the window for retroactive PUA payments to Dec. 1, 2020, through March 14, 2021.

All PUA recipients should be expecting to file more paperwork, too. To curb fraud, the second stimulus deal forces current and new PUA recipients to submit documents related to employment or self-employment, according to the DOL.

The exact documents needed will be determined by your state agency, which is required to notify you. The deadline to file those documents is March 27, 2021. Defer to your state’s deadline if different.

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How to File for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, State by State

Our interactive map includes PUA filing instructions for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Based on The Penny Hoarder’s analysis, 35 states and D.C. process PUA applicants using the same application for general unemployment. Only 15 states have separate PUA applications.

Here’s how we broke it down on the map.

General Unemployment

To determine PUA eligibility, most states funnel applicants through the Unemployment Insurance system first. Those states require you to file two applications: state unemployment first, then PUA.

In such states, you must get denied Unemployment Insurance (UI) before applying for PUA. Only a handful of states have one streamlined, general unemployment application that determines your eligibility for both PUA or regular benefits.

For simplicity — and because in both instances your first step is filing a general unemployment claim — both methods are categorized as “general unemployment (UI)” on the map, in dark  blue.

To see if you need to file two applications or one streamlined version, click your state on the map for specific filing instructions.


States marked in light blue have a PUA application separate from the regular Unemployment Insurance system. If you are a resident of one of these states, you can file for PUA directly so long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

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Documents Needed to File for PUA

If you’re ready to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you’ll need to gather several types of identification- and income-related documents.

Your state may require a few additional documents, but here’s an overview:

Income statements and related documents are crucial to proving how and when the coronavirus affected your earnings. For freelancers and independent contractors, it may be difficult to compile everything. Include as much as possible.

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Expect Delays

Due to new rules outlined in the second stimulus package, state labor departments are once again scrambling. Hiccups should be expected while applying for, asking about or submitting documents related to PUA. Many gig workers and independent contractors warn of website crashes, unavailable customer service, confusing questionnaires and more.

Perseverance is key.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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