This article was last updated on January 8
I have noticed several comments and the mixed messages people are receiving from state unemployment agencies saying that they have rolled out the new weekly $300 FPUC payment, but yet many claimants won’t get this payment for several weeks! Especially those who exhausted there benefits before December 27th, 2020 (or December 26th in some states). This was the date that funding for the PUA, PEUC and EB programs ran out under the CARES act which funded these programs in the first place before the COVID relief extension was passed to extend UI benefits.
The mixed messaging and delays in payments you may be experiencing is likely due to the fact that to get the $300 FPUC supplementary weekly payment, which was relatively easy to implement since $600 FPUC was in place last year and only the amount has changed, you need to be able to enroll in the extended PUA or PEUC program weeks. This is because you need to show $1 of underlying existing unemployment benefits to get the supplementary $300 weekly payment. Unless you can certify for your standard unemployment weekly, you won’t get the $300 payment which is automatically applied by state agencies that meet this criteria.
So the issue actually is due to delays with states implementing the PUA and PEUC programs that have had some new changes and criteria under the new law, e.g. additional documentation, or you need to use PEUC before PUA. So this has meant claimants who exhausted PUA or PEUC benefits before Dec 27th, cannot file/certify for the weeks which extended coverage is available. And as a result don’t get the $300 either because it cannot be paid because you need to have $1 of UI under PUA or PEUC to get the $300!
The vicious cycle won’t be resolved until state UI agencies update their system for the new PUA and PEUC, which will determine if people have to apply again or automatically re-enroll for benefits under the extended coverage period (December 27th, 2020 to April 10th, 2021). So for those who have exhausted benefits and want to re-enroll or reapply for benefits you will just need to wait for your state UI agency to make system updates. You will be retroactively paid or made whole for eligible weeks during the extended benefits coverage period.
In addition to the above, here are some useful tips to those who have exhausted their benefits and waiting to file a new claim:
- Pay attention to the determination letter, notice or (UI portal) tab. Claimants only have a fixed time (30 to 60 days depending on state) to protest or appeal a decision from their state’s Unemployment Agency. If you miss this window you will have to go through a more arduous appeal process.
- Continue to certify regularly (weekly in most states) if you’re disputing a determination. If you win your appeal, you’ll be paid for the weeks you certify. If you don’t certify it can be a paid to get in touch with someone at your state agency to back date your certifications. Most states don’t have an automated way to do this.
- Read the questions when you certify. Answering questions inaccurately, even by accident, could lead to trouble with your claim. Slow down. If you are out of work because of the pandemic, make sure to explain why.
- Don’t believe fraudsters asking for your personal information because they can expedite your claim through some magic channel. They cannot and it’s a scam to get your private information and likely hijack your benefit payments.