To find out all about Coronavirus-related unemployment benefits     

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: All That You Need To Know

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs. To help the unemployed meet their financial needs, the federal government has announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This financial relief measure is for those individuals who are otherwise not eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act signed into law in March 2020. 

Who Can Apply For PUA? 

As said earlier, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides monetary relief to those not qualified for regular UI benefits but meet the eligibility criteria for PUA. This includes the self-employed, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, gig workers, employees of nonprofits, or those seeking part-time employment. 

Eligibility Criteria For PUA Benefits

To qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, the applicant must meet certain criteria such as: 

  • Must not be eligible for other forms of UI benefits such as Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Extended Benefits (EB), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), etc. 
  • Must have been scheduled to start a job for an employer 
  • Must have been self-employed or been scheduled to start self-employment
  • Must not qualify for the UI benefits in another state or U.S. territory, 

In addition to these requirements, the applicant must be fully or partially unemployed for any one of the qualifying reasons. 

  • The applicant is experiencing symptoms or diagnosed with Coronavirus and is seeking medical help
  • A member of the applicant’s household has contracted Coronavirus
  • The applicant is providing care for a family member diagnosed with Coronavirus
  • The applicant is unable to reach this/her employment place because of quarantine imposed
  • The applicant is unable to reach his/her employment place because a health care provider has advised him/her to self-isolate due to concerns related to Coronavirus
  • The applicant had to quit his/her job as a direct result of Coronavirus
  • The applicant’s place of employment has shut down as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak
  • The applicant has been scheduled to commence a job but cannot reach the workplace due to the pandemic
  • The head of the household lost his/her life due to Coronavirus, and the applicant is the major breadwinner

Documents Required To Apply For PUA

To apply for the PUA benefits, the applicant must submit the following documents.

  1. Proof of wages/income for the tax year January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019
  2. Copies of pay stubs, IRS Form W-2 or IRS Form 1099, earning statements, schedule C, F, or SE, and federal income tax Form 1040 if the applicant is a 1099 independent contractor or an employee 
  3. Copy of schedule 1, 2, C, F or SE tax return and IRS Form 1040 for self-employed
  4. Social Security Number 
  5. Name and address of employer impacted due to the Coronavirus

How Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Amount Calculated? 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides financial relief for up to 39 weeks. The benefit amount is calculated based on the guidelines set by the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program. The minimum benefit an applicant will receive is 50% of the state’s weekly unemployment benefit, i.e., $190 weekly.

How To Apply for PUA Benefits?

1. To apply for PUA, visit your state’s Department Of Labor (DOL) website.

  • Click “File A Claim” to file for regular UI benefits. This is because to qualify for PUA you must be ineligible to receive UI benefits
  • When you disqualify for UI benefits, you will automatically be redirected to “file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” page
  • Submit your Social Security Number, driving license, telephone number, email address, etc. details 

2. If your application does not include proof of income or employment details, provide them to the concerned authorities within 21 days by mail or fax.

  • This can include scheduled C, F, etc. tax returns
  • Final pay stub in 2019
  • If you don’t have any of above-mentioned documents, you can provide 2018 federal tax returns details
  • Proof of employment 

3. Wait for the authorities to process your application. If you qualify for benefits, you will receive a determination letter, which will include instructions on how to file weekly claims.

 4. File for weekly claims

Is PUA Taxable?

Similar to the UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is taxable income, and you need to report it on your federal income tax returns. 

Final Words 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is one among federal initiatives that aim at helping the unemployed make it through difficult times. If you have lost your source of income due to the Coronavirus, then waste no more time and apply for the PUA benefits. 



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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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