Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – 2021 Extension, Back Payments and Retroactive Coverage

This article was last updated on January 3

With passing of Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (COVID Relief Stimulus Bill) and additional funding for enhanced unemployment programs like the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, states can now pay up to 24 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to individuals who have qualified for, but exhausted regular state unemployment compensation (UC) or their existing PEUC/EB claim balance. The 24 weeks is made of up the original 13 weeks approved under the CARES act (which expired on December 26th, 2020) and 11 additional weeks approved under the COVID relief stimulus bill from December 27th, 2020 to March 14th, 2021. In order to be eligible for PEUC benefits, claimants must also be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work assuming no Coronavirus/COVID-19 restrictions. They must also certify for each week they are claiming UI benefits.

When Can I Claim the PEUC extension?

In most states, due to the delays around getting the final COVID relief stimulus bill approved, it will take some time for states to update their UI systems based on DOL guidance around PEUC payments. Some states have already stated they will be making enhanced unemployment program payments in early January and I expect most to have their systems updated by mid-January 2021. Any missed payments will only be retroactively made to December 27th, 2020 when the program extension started. The diagram below shows how this would work if you are able to request payment for the week of December 27th, 2020 on or after January 3, 2021.

Claiming PEUC benefits and when I can certify for weekly claims
PEUC calendar to claim benefits

Note that if If you have not collected unemployment benefits in a while, you may need to reactivate your account before you can resume requesting PEUC benefits. But for most people with an active claim or one that recently expired due to the existing funding running out, their UI account should be automatically transitioned to the new PEUC benefits automatically. You will not need to re-apply and your benefit amount will not change. You will need to keep certifying and/or requesting payment weekly as you currently do.

The last payable week for the PEUC extension will be for the week ending March 13, 2021. If you receive a PEUC payment for that week, and you have a remaining balance on your account, you may be eligible to participate in a phaseout period and collect PEUC through the week ending April 10, 2021.

PEUC vs. PUA

In contrast to PEUC, PUA provides UI benefits for up to 50 base weeks (+ state extended benefits) to non-salaried individuals like freelancers, contract and gig workers and others not traditionally eligible for regular state UI or PEUC. But you can only claim PUA if you have exhausted PEUC, EB or other sources of unemployment coverage. This was confirmed in the latest DOL guidelines where if you previously exhausted your claim for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and are currently filing a claim under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, you will have to reapply for the PEUC program since you can only collect PUA if you have exhausted any entitlement to PEUC.

Because of the additional PEUC benefits available, you are no longer eligible to receive PUA. If you continue to be unemployed or partially unemployed, you must reopen your existing PEUC claim. Your state UI agency will send instructions on how to do this and will vary on a state by state basis. Note that your PEUC claim may have a different weekly benefit amount versus your PUA benefit due to the differing calculations for these benefits.

$300 FPUC and PEUC

If you qualify for PEUC (or any other unemployment program) between December 27th, 2020 and March 14th, 2021 you will also be eligible for the $300 FPUC supplementary weekly payment that was funded under the latest COVID relief stimulus bill.

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12 thoughts on “Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – 2021 Extension, Back Payments and Retroactive Coverage

  1. At the end of December there is still money on my account they are letting me file but not getting any money what’s up with that last check was end of December on peuc my funds are not exhausted

  2. Uniformity of policies and procedures is tantamount to making this archaic state system effective for claimants .
    Where else can an entity business corporate or state delay a sole discharge of their fiduciary capacity with
    their counterparts ie people struggling for funds they ha e contributed to without and ability to confirm policies and procedures for claimants ? I was a singer at the Metropolitan opera .. One mistake one late rehearsal schedule and id be fired immediately !!wtf is up here except lazy ppl and poorly funded state services .PS how dare they pause payments or question payments when you try to stay afloat w money u pay into state system

  3. Hi Claudia from NEW MEXICO
    I am on the PEUC program and my balance is showing 1 week left. I have been too scared to certify for the last week. Do I need to use the balance up so they can put me in a different program or add the extension to my claim? I’m so stressed out. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Claudia,
      I am also in the exact same situation as you with only one week left. Did you ever receive an answer?

    2. Hi
      The second and only time I got a real person on the phone from Unemployment the person told me to never stop claiming. With the PEUC being extended it should just roll over. My advice is to not stop claiming, always do your weeks claiming.

  4. andy, do you contact people via personal emails so we can talk privately about my situation without having to broadcast it for the world to see?

  5. Yep, I am in the same situation as everyone else who has commented here. Exhausted EB, PAU, PEAU, LWA. My account says I have exhausted my funds. What is a person to do(without completely losing it)???

  6. I am still at a lose of what I need to do. I continue to read your articles each day, search for updates everyday, scour the internet daily for updates to the Alabama DOL being updated but still my unemployment file was updated on 01/03/2021 (which is not correct!!!) and shows I have $0.00 income to draw on for reg uc if approved and doesn’t even give me an option to file for PUA. So I’d assume I would have to go reopen my previous claim when I was drawing PEUC during 2020..?? to be eligible now and start drawing off the currently passed relief package? If so how do I do this? I have received nothing by mail. My dad received his last week of his PEUC & the $300 FPUC after AL updated its system this week. But clearly they are missing people (like me!!) SO I desperately need help!! Thanks again, Michelle here in ALABAMA

  7. for the las 2 1/2 to 3 weeks i havnt even been able to log into my account to filemy claims. Nor have i been able to talk to anyone about getting help with recovering my log in info & account. Let alone leave a msg or request a call back. Ive tried everything & cant seem to get anywhere. When I try to log in to my account using the email i set my account up with is not the right email address. Studio what do i do about getting my bills paid now?

  8. How do we know if this has started rolling out in Nevada? Many of us got an extra 300. but we aren’t sure if it’s week 6LWA or the new 300. stimulus relief.

  9. Andy, I have read this article & the one you posted yesterday about “Do I need to take any action…” yet I’m still a little confused. This is my situation; I exhausted my regular unemployment, then exhausted my PEUC, then when I tried to file for PUA I didn’t complete the claim so it denied me and I’ve never been able to reapply for PUA (which I should be eligible for). I did try to file a new claim (in trying to refile for the PUA) but it was denied. I was told to just continue to file each week although it says I have no benefits. I was told that if a new relief package came then I could get payment but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch! Per your article I’d assume they would pick up my previous PEUC claim and certify the weeks I’ve filed so far with payout starting w/e 12/27/2020 going forward plus the $300 FPUC..??? Is this correct or do I need to do something else? (I’m in Alabama) Thanks for the help!! P.S. You’re articles are great!! -Michelle

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