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Can You Reopen Unemployment Benefits If You Are Laid Off Again?

Updated : March 24th, 2023

The pandemic-induced economic downturn had caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and depend on the federal or state-provided Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for survival. But as states begin to restart economic activities, people are finding new jobs or returning to their old jobs. But what happens if you get laid off again due to the pandemic? Can you reopen unemployment benefits? 

 The answer is: Yes. You are eligible to reopen unemployment benefits if you have lost your job again. This article will guide you through reopening unemployment benefits and extention of benefits. 

More About Restarting Unemployment Benefits  

You can restart unemployment benefits even if you had filed for them earlier that year. When you first file an unemployment claim, your benefit year begins. Over the next 52 weeks from the date of filing the initial unemployment claim, any benefits you apply for would be added into that benefit year.

When you first apply for unemployment benefits, you qualify to receive payments depending on various factors like how much you earned in your base period, how much you used to earn every week, etc. This amount is the maximum unemployment benefits you can receive every week for a benefit year of 52 weeks.

The number of weeks you can collect unemployment benefits within that 52 weeks depends on your state of residence. While some states like Florida offer benefits for only 12 weeks, others like Montana provide for 28 weeks. However, most states provide benefits for up to 26 weeks. 

It is important to note that you don’t have to use up all your unemployment weeks consecutively but within a year of when you filed initial unemployment benefits.

For instance, let’s say you live in a state that offers 28 weeks of unemployment benefits. You qualify for the payment and collect benefits for 14 weeks. Thereafter, you get a full-time job, and so you stop collecting benefits. If the business shuts down, then you still have 14 weeks to collect unemployment benefits before your benefit year expires.

What If You Are Still Unemployed Past The 52 Weeks?

If you are unemployed for the past 52 weeks, you can continue to apply for unemployment benefits. However, the probability of you qualifying to receive payments is very low. That is because Unemployment Insurance benefits are generally based on your past four quarters’ earnings. If you haven’t earned any income in the past four quarters, you will not be eligible for benefits in the following benefit year.

How To Reapply For Unemployment Benefits?

You can reapply for unemployment benefits by logging into your account registered on the state’s Department Of Labor (DOL) website. Provide the necessary information and answer the questions like how much did you earn, etc. 

Note that you must notify the Department that you are earning wages on the first day you took up the job and not when you get your first paycheck. 

For instance, if you are joining the date of June 15 but won’t be paid until June 30, you must stop applying for your unemployment benefit on June 15.

Will Unemployment Benefits Be Extended?

Some states have extended unemployment benefits, but many others haven’t yet. The states will extend benefits only if their unemployment rate exceeds the threshold level. This does not mean that you will not receive any benefits if you have exhausted your regular benefits. 

You can still receive payments under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. This program was implemented under the CARES Act and aimed at providing benefits for an additional 13 weeks. “If you were laid off for more than 26 weeks, you could restart and go into PEUC, probably,” stated Evermore, referring to the PEUC program.

Note that you can receive benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program if you exhaust benefits received under the regular and extended benefits (in case your state provides).

For instance, if your state provides 26 weeks of regular benefits and 7 weeks of extended benefits, you can collect benefits through the PEUC program when you exhaust all benefits received through the regular and extended programs. This indicates that you can receive payment for a total of 46 (26+7+13) weeks.

But suppose your state is providing regular benefits for 26 weeks but no extended benefits, and you have exhausted your benefits. In that case, you can qualify for the PEUC program when you exhaust benefits received through the regular unemployment program. This indicates that you can collect benefits for a total 39 (26+13) weeks. 

If you have exhausted benefits received through the PEUC program, you can apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The program was created under the CARES Act to provide benefits to those who otherwise did not qualify to receive benefits under the regular UI program like the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. The program provides benefits for 39 weeks. 

When Will The Extended Benefits End?

Both PEUC and PUA are scheduled to end on December 31, 2020, unless another stimulus package extends them. So far, the Republicans and Democrats have failed to reach an agreement on another Coronavirus stimulus package. That means millions of unemployed Americans will stop receiving benefits when the year ends. 

What Happens If The Extended Benefits End?

Your maximum weekly unemployment benefits reset to what is provided in your state unless the new unemployment stimulus package is announced. However, suppose the unemployment rate soars again, Congress may announce another stimulus package or extend the benefits period, or may even allow people to collect benefits through a regular unemployment program beyond 52 weeks. 

So if you have been unemployed since April 1, 2020, and qualify for the Unemployment Insurance program, you may be able to continue receiving benefits beyond April 1, 2021.

Closing Thoughts 

You can qualify for an unemployment program without any hassle and get benefits unless you fail to provide the necessary documentation to the Department Of Labor. Therefore, make sure you provide precise details regarding your earnings, work hours, etc. To know more about the unemployment programs or claim reopening process, visit your state’s Labor Department website. 


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  1. I was approved for extended benefits after exhausting PUA and the 26 weeks UI in Ohio. I have been looking for work, but also have had major health challenges and am finding getting back to “normal” slow going. I have a EB approval letter, and am currently receiving payments. When I look at the EB payment stub it shows my payment amount, and then the remaining approved amount (diminished by the weekly payment). So… do I get to exhaust the balance stated (which would take the weekly payments into 2021), or do my extended benefit payments expire on Dec 26 with the Federal program?

  2. I’m considering moving from MA to another state to pursue available work. I CAN NOT get hold of a human or find any info online about the ramifications of transferring my residence. Is there any information available that I’m missing or anyone having gone through the process of moving while collecting unemployment?

  3. I accidentally filed my UI unemployment amount wrong. I wrote that I made 25k last year when it was more like 12k with the pandemic problems. The issue was that I included my student loans in my income amount. Now I’m concerned about it being audited and how to fix this. I know I will have to pay back an amount but this is a lot of stress. I cannot get ahold of anyone in a timely manner and so I am wondering if anyone has an idea as to how to fix this appropriately?

    • Ashley,

      I suggest you check the “Resources” section of the official website of the Unemployment Office or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if feasible.

  4. my benefit in missouri ru has exhausted they send me a letter about my peuc until dec 26 2020 how long it take to receive peuc

    • Debra,

      The processing will certainly take a couple of weeks of time owing to the pendency. Please keep checking/following up at regular intervals.

  5. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

    • I’m having similar issue.. I was accepted and was receiving payments for three months.. then it was stopped 5 weeks ago to check a possibility of fraud.. there was a determination to confirm my identity again.. this after the same office gives me insurance and food help and was taking partial of money to pay two different child support claims.. they don’t think I’m who I say I am.. and it just sits there pending.. what can be done to get this fixed.

  6. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much

    • Lorraine,

      The pension will have an impact on weekly UI payments. Please declare the income online, on the departments website.

  7. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  8. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  9. I got an email saying that I have exhausted my 39 weeks do I get to extend my benefits in Texas beyond this?

  10. If i take a contract job in a different state for 6 months will my unemployment benefit be available at the end of my contract

  11. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    • Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  12. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      • My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  13. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  14. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  15. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  16. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  17. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    • Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  18. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  19. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    • Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  20. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  21. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

    • Again basically I’ve also been put on hold for a ridiculously stupid reason.. Why can’t this issue be quickly handled. Is the any where we can get action if we already were receiving benefits and have been stopped suddenly

      • Greg,

        I can understand your frustration. The Unemployment Office might be inundated with pending requests. Please visit the website to find the answers.

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