Do I Have To Apply Again For PUA, PEUC, Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) and State Enhanced Unemployment Benefit Programs?


[Updated for LWA program] There are several enhanced unemployment benefit programs currently available under the CARES COVID stimulus program. However many of these have different rules and have been implemented slightly differently by the various states that process and pay unemployment benefits. The most reported and probably the most significant enhanced UI benefit program is the $600 FPUC program that expired at the end of July. While Congress is still debating funding for an extension, President Trump used an executive order to create the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program to provide $300 to $400 in weekly benefits for an interim period (August 1st to December 27th) using disaster relief funds from the FEMA budget.

However there are two other significant programs enacted under the CARES act for those are unable or unavailable to work because of COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions. These federally funded programs are the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), that while don’t pay additional benefits do extend and expand benefit UI eligibility for millions of jobless Americans through the end of the year. You can see the different timelines in this article but in many states you do need to first be denied or have exhausted regular unemployment benefits available through the regular state funded programs before applying for the new CARES act programs. This is why the first step to get the extra/extended benefits is to apply for state unemployment benefits. Once your state agency confirms you are not eligible for regular state funded unemployment you will be automatically enrolled or provided instructions to access these new programs.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program

The LWA program provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. In most states eligible claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take any action as the state UI agency will automatically add LWA payments to their weekly benefit payment retroactive to the dates they are eligible (and have certified for relevant weeks from August 1st when the program was in effect from). But you will need to check your state UI site to confirm how they are handling this.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The PEUC program provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits (generally from the week ending April 4, 2020) for those who have used up their existing state unemployment benefits. It extends, but does not expand eligibility. Most states are requiring claimants to apply again or reconfirm their eligibility for the PEUC program, which means confirming that they have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment compensation in their state for the applicable benefit year. They must also confirm there are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work or constrained from doing so due to COVID-19.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The PUA program on the other hand was created to cover self-employed/contract workers, seeking part-time employment, or those who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation PUA is available for 39 weeks. If you are eligible for PUA, you need to first apply for unemployment insurance and prove you are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, which may not include filing a regular claim as a first step. States are now required to take and adjudicate a full claim for regular unemployment insurance benefits to meet this requirement. Individuals should apply using the state’s PUA application process (see their websites) and, in states that have not yet established that process, must wait until it is established.

The PUA and PEUC benefits are generally equal to or less than the regular state unemployment maximum benefit amount.

Delays in Applying for Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

What’s causing a lot of issues for jobless workers who are eligible for the new programs is that in many cases they have to reapply or re-certifying for these benefits via their state’s online portal or following a letter from their state agency that confirms eligibility for these programs. This is still not a smooth process with over 40 million workers having had to file unemployment claims nationwide, a flood that’s overwhelmed some states, freezing antiquated computer systems and jamming websites and phone lines for days. This has been confirmed from the several hundred comments across the various articles written on the enhanced/extended unemployment benefit programs. I hear you and and am trying to publish/update the latest information in addition to answering comments.

PUA and the PEUC programs will continue through the end of the year, unless there is an extension of unemployment benefits. The department of labor has recently issued additional guidelines and data on these programs as well.

Federal-State Extended Unemployment Benefits Program

Several states have also activated their extended benefits program (EB) which was provided federal funding under the CARES act. This provides even more weeks of unemployment coverage above and beyond the above programs. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the agency which funds and sets guidelines for federal unemployment funding. EB is only payable after the using available PEUC benefits for those eligible. Each state must
determine if an individual meets all EB eligibility requirements, hence they will ask an claimant to reapply or provide proof of their eligibility for ongoing benefits.

This article was updated on August 26

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20 thoughts on “Do I Have To Apply Again For PUA, PEUC, Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) and State Enhanced Unemployment Benefit Programs?

  1. Hello. How do I know or how can I find out if my home state, Nevada, requires me to reconfirm my eligibility for PEUC benefits? My normal 26 weeks of unemployment benefits have been “Exhausted”. Thank you. Alan

  2. My name is George Therrien I have been self employed most of my life.
    I applied for UI was denied so then I was accepted for the PUA. I backdated my claim to March 21st . I started applying for benefits as soon as they said the self employed could. After over 500 calls and 2 months of trying I finally got through I then applied sometimes n June.
    Well they denied me my backdated pay saying that my excuse for filing so late wasn’t acceptable. They then made me wait for months at a time to get my 150 a week.
    I haven’t been able to get into my account with them online , for various reasons so my appeal I made was voided. I need to sue them I think for the money this program provided. What do you think.I need some help
    I have all ready lost everything because of no cash or not close to enough.

  3. I was denied for regular unemployment, but receiving PUA benefits for 39 weeks. Next week is my last week, and I need to know what to file next. GA’s DOL does not respond to emails, except to say that we acknowledge it. They still have not paid for some back dated claim weeks, and need to know what to do.

  4. I received an email from the Dept Of Labor stating I may be entitled to receive the LWA benefit. Does anyone know if there is another step besides clicking on the corona related box and submitting ok? I’ve done this and I never received confirmation from njdol! The screen did however turn gray, but when I went back in the screen was not checked. I also reset my password and logged back in.

  5. If I have exhausted my UI, and my PEUC, can i apply for PUA and get those benifits?

      1. If you are in NY you can just keep certifying weekly because there is an extension. No need to do anything else extra just keep certifying and you will get your weekly unemployment.

  6. I am on pua and has not been getting any payments since July
    ..what should I do,?

  7. Does anyone know when NY will be receiving our LWA payment?
    Also In NY the waiting period was waived
    So how long will I have to wait for my payment?

  8. Under PEUC, is medical documentation from a doctor sufficient to get relief from the requirement to search for work. My doctor has stated I should not work through December 31st. I am 70, as is my husband, and he has co-morbidities. His doctor says the Covid-19 would be serious or even result in death! thanks

  9. I live in TN. I’ve been on PUA unemployment. A few days ago I received the 300 a week for the first 3 weeks of August. But when I certified this last Sunday week ending August 29th It does not show my 300 Stimulus. So confused as to why they would pay my back pay but not receiving the 300 starting the 4th week in August???

  10. I received a letter in July saying I may be eligible for PEUC, I called immediately and the person I talked to said that my account was locked and someone would get back with me with in 21 days. I kept on top of this.. I now keep being told that a Supervisor will be calling me. I have not got a call from anybody. I am frustrated going to be homeless if I can not get assistance, can someone please give me direction. Thank you.

    1. eviction and foreclosures have been stopped due to the virus. so dont sweat becoming homeless…

      1. In Massachusetts, the eviction moratorium was lifted in October 18, 2920. Courts are BUSY!!!

  11. I had to stop working March 13th and filed for UE and filed all the way to the middle of may before getting told that I wasn’t eligible for regular ur but I was eligible for PUA I filed for that and was approved 5/24/20. My first two payments were paper check then I received the Reliacard… I have been filing every week and I have not received my back pay. I tried the retroactive and got no where… I have tried calling and busy signal all day can’t do chat online. I’m very frustrated… I can’t get to work because the bus no longer runs that route, I could get a vehicle and return to work with that back pay, people who are filing now are getting their payments right away. Please help me.

  12. My pua has been put on hold. Local office back dated my claim for pua and regular unemployment to March 15. I started receiving both for week ending July 18. Now I am being told that my regular unemployment has to end in order to receive back dated pua. I am confused.

  13. I was told today by an Outreach worker that a judge has ordered the state to pay up by next week. She said I should have mine by next week but of course, I tried to get on the site today, in NV. and it said down for construction. Can you tell us anything about that?

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