Unemployment Extensions to PUA, PEUC and FPUC in Latest Biden Stimulus Bill

This article was last updated on February 21

House leaders have released the final draft of Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan which reflects many of the unemployment extensions he campaigned on. I have discussed many of these in some recent articles and you can see a summary of the extended employment programs and coverage periods in the graphic following the program extensions updates. Overall coverage for the federally funded pandemic unemployment programs has been extended from when the current CAA COVID relief bill ends on March 14th, 2021 to August 29th, 2021 (excluding any phase-out periods). Key enhanced unemployment provision extensions include:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

The PUA program, designed for freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors or those that generally don’t qualify for regular state unemployment, has been extended by another 24 weeks. This brings the total number of weeks in the program to 74. Note however, any payments under the Biden stimulus package can only be backdated or retroactively paid to the “enactment date” of the stimulus package, which would likely be March 15th, 2021.

Note that the minimum PUA payment is still 50% of a states average weekly benefit amount and limited to the state’s maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA).

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – $400 for 24 weeks for a maximum of $9,600

As expected the new stimulus bill will increase the weekly supplementary/extra unemployment amount to $400 (from the current $300) for the weeks of unemployment ending after March 14, 2021, and ending on or before August 29, 2021. This is a total of 24 weeks and eligible claimants – those getting at least $1 from state and federal unemployment programs – can get a maximum of $9,600 if they qualify for all weeks covered in this new extension.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – 24 more weeks

The PEUC program, which extends coverage for those who have exhausted regular and extended state unemployment, has also been extended for another 24 weeks, bringing the total amount of PEUC coverage to 48 weeks.

There was an explicit clause to state that claimants receiving extended state unemployment benefits (as some states are providing due to high unemployment rates) shall not be eligible to receive PEUC until they have exhausted all rights to such extended benefits. So to get PEUC, you will first have to use up regular state unemployment and extended state benefits.

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2021 Extended Unemployment Coverage for PUA, PEUC and 400 FPUC With Biden Stimulus Package
Extended Unemployment Coverage for PUA, PEUC and 400 FPUC With Biden Stimulus Package

You can see an earlier update on the above in this recent YouTube video. The final legislation to enact the above provisions still needs to work its way through Congress and will likely see some minor tweaks to get the required votes for passage, since there are a lot of items other than unemployment extensions up for discussion. Once approved and signed into law by the president, the Department of Labor (DOL) will then issue formal guidelines for state UI agencies to implement the new program extensions. All this will take some time (2 to 4 weeks), and hence the push by Congress to get this bill approved as soon as possible. I’ll track progress and post updates as they come to hand and you can subscribe to get the latest information.

10 thoughts on “Unemployment Extensions to PUA, PEUC and FPUC in Latest Biden Stimulus Bill

  1. Andy, I just recently heard from IDES (Illinois Dept. of Employment Security) that “due to the end of HUP (high unemployment ?), you have exhausted the maximum number weeks (50) allowable (for PUA), and the “remaining weeks on your balance (3) are not payable beginning with the week of 2/21/21” (I actually was allowed to CERTIFY for that week, but didn’t get any payment on my debit card for that week — the usual way IDES sends me my weekly benefit payment.
    So I have tried and tried to find out if President Biden’s new $1.9 trillion Relief bill (if it passes the Senate) will EXTEND my PUA and perhaps FPUC benefits DESPITE my reaching the CURRENT maximum number of weeks (50) for my PUA.
    Andy, if you can, I would appreciate a direct email to me with your answer — I am not proficient on a computer, and do not know how to get to your site to see if there is a message for me there.
    Mike R.

  2. 3/2/21
    Hi Andy,
    I received my last payment for the week ending 12/26/20 (paid $198 + $300). I’ve been certifying every week since, but no payment yet. I have 23 weeks left (12 + the new 11 weeks). I’ve sent my 2019 tax returns, ID, SSN, business registration multiple times (I had $0 income). I haven’t filed 2020 taxes yet.

    Will I still be eligible for payment after 12/26?
    Will this include the extra $300?
    Is Illinois waiting for a decision from the Senate?

    Your response is greatly appreciated!

  3. hi ,my pua simply stopped said i had exausted all my UI Benefits i wasnt collecting anything other than pua and it doesnt offer how to apply again im in illinois

  4. I am an IC . I worked as a travel agent. I have zero income. I was receiving unemployment benefits and then all of a sudden week of Feb 3 they ended. I call the GA office every day!!! Anyone know why it stopped and how do I restart it?

  5. Hi Andy, Can you please reply to my question from Sunday at 10:23 PM. You can post your reply. Much Thanks Again. Michael

  6. Hi, Andy. Under the PUA section in this article, did you update/change since I read it yesterday, February 20? I could have sworn yesterday it said the PUA amount would increase from 50% to 75%. I had mentioned it to an unemployment advocate and when she read it today she said she couldn’t find anything about the 75% and didn’t know what I was talking about. So now it says this: “Note that the minimum PUA payment is still 50% of a states average weekly benefit amount and limited to the state’s maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA).” And I don’t remember reading this part yesterday. I understand it’s updated now I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going crazy from what I read yesterday. Thank you.

    1. Yes, I had updated. Sorry for that. The 50% to 75% is only for FFRCA related provisions. So PUA provisions stay at 50% of average WBA, per earlier extensions.

  7. Hi Andy I have been on PEUC since 4/5/20. I completed my initial 26 weeks, then my 13 weeks. I was then notified that I was approved for the 11 weeks. This Tuesday I will be certifying for my 6th week of the 11. That will leave me 3 more weeks until the week ending 3/13 when the current $ 300 ends. For the 10th and 11th week I expect that I will only receive my regular UI payment and not the additional $300. My one year ends on 4/3/21. Now if Biden’s plan is signed prior to the 3/14 cutoff, what will I have to do to continue to receive my regular UI $ plus the additional $400 thru August ? Do I need to start all over and reapply again on or before the one year ends ? I can’t get any information from anyone. Much Thanks ! I await your kind reply.

  8. Hi Andy,
    My daughter lost her job strictly because of the pandemic. Her business would not have closed otherwise, actually struggled to stay open for a while when the pandemic first hit. She is an accountant for the business and has been out of work since March 2020. So, my question is, which unemployment was she receiving because her state is saying she’s run out of benefits (Nevada) and now she’s not sure what to do to continue getting benefits from something federal. She has 3 kids so she needs to support them somehow. Which one is she? Is she considered PEUC? And if so, does she have to reapply to the feds now? Where does she do that? Sorry for all the questions. Can’t figure this out! So, thank you!

    1. Its based on the type of income/wages she was getting. Was she getting a W2 (full time or part time regular employees) or a 1099 (contractors). If W2, she can generally get PEUC – once she exhausts regular state UI. If she was getting 1099 based income or paid on a contract basis, she should be eligible for PUA.

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