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A Guide To Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

To help the unemployed meet their financial needs, the U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act includes several unemployment benefits programs, and one among them is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

What Is The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program?

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is a temporary program that offers an additional $600 per week to those who receive unemployment benefits. 

Eligibility Criteria For The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

To qualify for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, you must be eligible for any one of the following programs.

  1. Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  2. Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
  3. Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX)
  4. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  5. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  6. Extended Benefits (EB)
  7. Trade Readjustment Allowances ( TRA)
  8. Work Sharing Benefits

Other requirements include:

  • Able to work, actively seek for work and available for work
  • Submission of a complete record of work searches
  • Report earnings made during the week of claiming benefits. They include, but are not limited to, income/wages, paid sick time, and vacation pay

Though FPUC requires you to be available for work, the Federal law has given flexibility for states to amend their own laws to accommodate for the pandemic situation. States can pay benefits when:

  •  An employer temporarily shuts down due to the coronavirus, preventing you from going to work
  • You are quarantined and expect to rejoin your work post quarantine 
  • You stop going to work due to a risk of Coronavirus exposure or infection

Where To File For FPUC?

To apply for FPUC, you must first file a claim for regular unemployment benefits. If you have recently filed for UI benefits, the FPUC amount will be added to your future unemployment weeks.  

But if you have not filed for the regular benefits, visit the state (where you worked) website and apply for the benefits. You can also apply in person or over the phone. When you file a claim, provide your Social Security number, email ID, telephone number, address, and your former employment details. Some states may also require driving license details. If you are not aware of the documents needed to file a claim, visit the state-owned website. 

How Long Can You Receive FPUC Benefits?

The FPUC benefit is available only for a limited time. The program pays for the weeks of unemployment that start after March 28, 2020, and ends on or before July 31, 2020. The amount is paid from the week ending April 4, 2020, to the week ending July 25, 2020. 

The first benefit that you receive will include payments for prior weeks that you did not receive. For instance, if you qualify for regular UI benefits for the week ending April 4, and you generally get it on Tuesday, then on Tuesday, April 21, you will receive FPUC benefits for April 4, 11, and 18.

Note that you will receive the amount at the same time as you receive your other unemployment benefit payments. 

What Kinds Of Benefits Are Deductible From FPUC?

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is subject to certain deductions. The payment can be reduced due to Child Support obligations or other benefit offsets. 

The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) collects child support obligations, and the amount to be withheld is determined by an agreement between the affected parent and CSEA. When you qualify for FPUC benefits, the CSEA will be notified and will determine your deductibles.

But the earnings from pensions or part-time jobs are not deducted from your FPUC benefits.

Is Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Taxable?

Similar to regular UI benefits, the FPUC payment is taxable. You can choose to have state (5%) or federal (10%) income taxes deducted from your FPUC benefit. At the end of the calendar year, you will receive a Form 1099G, and the benefit you received will be reported to the State Tax Office and Internal Revenue Service.

Closing Thoughts

FPUC can help you support your needs and make it through these difficult times. If you are self-employed or a gig worker and are qualified for FPUC, you need not not worry. You may still be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

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