On this page you will find several articles on the latest unemployment programs and links to state specific UI pages for unemployment resources. The last 12 months has seen several new and extended federally funded enhanced unemployment programs put in place to support the record levels of unemployment as a result of the Coronavirus/COVID induced economic slowdown. Not surprisingly the roll-out and implementation of these new programs has been fraught with challenges and varies on a state-by-state basis. Hopefully the information here will help you find the information or answers you were looking for.
Latest Update – Additional funding for enhanced unemployment benefit programs has now been passed under the $900 billion COVID stimulus package, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. This includes an 11 week extension of enhanced unemployment benefits programs like PUA and PEUC. Also funded is a new $300 FPUC payment for the weeks between December 27th, 2020 and March 14th, 2021. These extended payments will only be made retroactively to the start of the new extension period and will be automatically applied for active claimants (expired claims my need to be reactivated). State agencies are rolling out there updates by claimant group, e.g. those with active benefits or have exhausted benefits). This unfortunately has meant ongoing delays in several states for claimants who had exhausted their PUA benefits in particular. You can see the state specific resource pages below for updates and rollout by unemployment agencies and labor departments in those states.
Also given the volume of questions and as every state has varying unemployment rules, I have started creating specific state unemployment pages to provide information on filing or checking the status of unemployment benefits –
The list above will grow as I add more state-by-state resources so please subscribe via email to get the latest updates. we also post regular updates via our Facebook page. You can also see our YouTube channel for video updates.
Enhanced Federally Funded Unemployment Programs Summary
Three main programs were federally funded under the CARES stimulus act (March 2020) and extended/updated under the subsequent $900 COVID relief bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021) passed at the end of 2020.
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision expands eligibility rules for claiming unemployment benefits and compensation to cover more workers, including contractors, freelance/“gig” workers and those who are self-employed. To qualify for PUA benefits, jobless Americans must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is now available for at least 50 weeks (not including some state specific extensions), until March 14th 2021. There is a phase out period to keep claiming benefits until the week ending April 10th, 2021 for those who have remaining weeks (no new claims in the phase out period).
- The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended state-level unemployment insurance by an additional 24 weeks compromised of 13 weeks originally under the CARES act and 11 extra weeks under the CAA/COVID stimulus bill. So state unemployment maximum benefits that normally last 26 weeks for example, would now last up-to 50 weeks. The extended benefits will last through March 14th, 2021. There is a phase out period to keep claiming benefits until the week ending April 10th, 2021 for those who have remaining weeks (no new claims in the phase out period).
- [Reduced to $300 in 2021] Under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program an additional payment of $300 per week on top of the current and extended regular state UI benefits will be provided for 11 weeks through to March 14th, 2021 (no payment in phase out period). This program originally provided $600 but that supplementary weekly payment expired in July 2020, but was funded again for 50% of the weekly amount in the latest stimulus bill.
- [Now Complete] The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program provided $300 to $400 of additional weekly benefits to recipients getting at least $100 of current unemployment benefits (including the above programs). This program was in effect from August 1st to September 5th 2020 (6 weeks of payments). States have now made payments under this program including providing back payments where applicable. See the latest state roll-out list and payment dates.
- While not a federal program, many states have triggered extended benefit (EB) programs due to high unemployment rate thresholds triggered in their states. This generally provides 7 additional weeks, on top of the 13 weeks available under the PEUC, for a total of 20 weeks.
Unemployment Benefit Resources
Below are some of the more useful articles related to unemployment benefits and enhanced programs enacted under the CARES act. These look to answer some common questions and clear up items around the PUA, PEUC and FPUC federally funded (but state administered) unemployment programs. You can also see they have several hundred comments, which have people sharing their experiences and resolutions to unemployment related issues. You will likely find people in a similar boat.