PUA and PEUC Benefit Cliff as COVID Enhanced Unemployment Payments Running Out Soon

With over 20 million Americans on some type of unemployment and the number of workers unemployed for more than six months growing faster than ever before, there is a palpable and justified sense of direct and indirect concern (or some would say fear) when federal funding for enhanced unemployment benefit programs runs out at the end of 2020.

“I’ve never needed government support, but my employer closed in April and then (permanently) again in October and I have been unable to get a steady job since then and things look bleak going into the holiday season. I am about to exhaust my remaining benefits and I don’t know how I will pay my bills and keep the heat on this winter,” said Peter Sherwin who worked as a manager at a local bar.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Emergency Unemployment (PEUC) Programs

The two largest programs that are running out at the end of 2020 and affect the most people will be the PEUC and PUA programs. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) was created under the CARES act and allowed many workers formerly on W-2 paying jobs to get an extended 13 weeks of unemployment above and beyond their state unemployment programs.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program on the other hand provided unemployment benefits to workers who were not covered by existing state unemployment programs. This included contract, freelance/gig workers and the self-employed (“1099” workers).

Both these programs provided and expanded unemployment benefits to between 39 and 46 weeks (depending on state) for many eligible workers. Further it also allowed them to access valuable weekly supplementary UI benefits under the $600 FPUC and $300 LWA programs, which have now also expired.

Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits Without Federal Action

Both programs expire at the end of the year, meaning an end to the federally funded safety net for the millions of workers who are getting current and retroactive benefits under these programs. So many longer term unemployment Americans will end up with ZERO unemployment benefits come January 1st 2021. This is despite some states providing extended state unemployment benefits, triggered due to high state unemployment rates. And with hopes of Congress passing a new stimulus program with extended unemployment benefits fading due to the election fallout, things look bleak.

If I still have weeks of PUA benefits, does it mean that come the end of December my PUA benefit’s will end?

Unfortunately yes. The program’s federal funding ends at the end of the year. So even if you have a balance or weeks of benefits left after year end, you won’t be getting these payments in 2021 unless Congress extends unemployment benefits.

This article was updated on November 22

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4 thoughts on “PUA and PEUC Benefit Cliff as COVID Enhanced Unemployment Payments Running Out Soon

  1. So my regular Kansas benefits expired back in October, but with the LWA program I was continuing to get that for a few weeks, I then applied for PUA and now I am getting that, I count myself lucky to get payments and no delays and everything has been smooth this year. Lots of complaints and people not getting theirs or even being denied (my neighbor was recently denied, said need to send them W2’s..in the mail…that will take awhile…)

    So I just hope that PUA ends December 31st/Jan 1st, so my family can have a decent Christmas, its the worst time of the year to being relying on these payments, and everything hinders on still getting these payments. Wife filed for her first stimulus awhile back, it got delayed, but they say its going to deposit soon. so maybe that will be a Christmas miracle as well.

    with 2 kids and no end in sight for this pandemic, only getting worse, being in the “5th worst state” for outbreak atm, its not only hard to get a job, but scary to even want to go back to work, with no health insurance if I get sick, its all over.

    There probably isn’t enough time for congress to pass another bill by end of the year, so it is what it is I guess.

  2. Why is Texas posting that they have now add 13 questions regarding the pandemic/disaster that must be answered correctly to be able to claim you claims for the requesting weeks. Does anyone know why they just now add the to the many other questions they ask. And does what are they asking.

  3. I applied in October and got a letter of determination…I sent in my 1099, but haven’t received nothing, what is the status for PUA in GA. Thx for any info

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