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COVID-19 Update: Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Expanded Eligibility for Benefits

access_time Posted on: April 20th, 2020

COVID-13 Update: Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Expanded Eligibility for Benefits

Benefits expanded to previously ineligible groups

Pursuant to the CARES Act, unemployment compensation benefits are now available for individuals in Pennsylvania who cannot work as a direct result of COVID-19, but who are not normally eligible for unemployment benefits (i.e. independent contractors, self-employed, workers with limited work history, and others). The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has been created to extend temporary, federally-funded benefits to these previously ineligible groups.

An applicant is eligible if any of the following apply:

  • Independent contractor, self-employed, 1099 filer, or farmer and affected by COVID-19,
  • Someone in the household has symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • Have a child home for a COVID-19 related closing and they are primary caregiver,
  • Cannot work because place of employment has closed or is not available because of COVID-19,
  • Lost job due to COVID-19,
  • Became head of household due to COVID-19,
  • Seeking part time work and affected by COVID-19,
  • Insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19, or
  • Otherwise not qualified for unemployment insurance benefits (regular or extended) and affected by COVID-19

In order to apply, individuals will need to gather and provide appropriate documentation to the UC office to support their application for benefits.

Employment or self-employment can be demonstrated with documents including:

  • Paycheck stub copy
  • Bank deposit receipts
  • 1099s
  • Copies of billing notices to customers
  • Recent business or service advertisements
  • Building leases
  • Recent statements from customers
  • Current business ledgers, licenses, invoices, or contracts

To establish a baseline of previous income, documentation of wages can include:

  • Paycheck stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Bank receipts
  • Contracts
  • Ledgers
  • Billing statements
  • Invoices

To substantiate that an inability to work is the result of COVID-19, acceptable documentation includes:

  • Documentation from a medical practitioner
  • Emails or notices from childcare provider or school
  • Emails or notices from county or state government regarding business closures or stay-at-home orders
  • Emails that services are no longer needed due to COVID-19 related closures
  • Documentation from prospective employer, if filing due to a job offer delayed or cancelled because of COVID-19. The letter should include start date, pay, and hours.

The application form for PUA benefits can be accessed at: https://pua.benefits.uc.pa.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

Additional information and FAQs regarding PUA benefits can be found here:

https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/PUA-FAQs.aspx

NOTE: The Office of Unemployment Compensation has advised that they are experiencing issues with their website and have advised that individuals who receive a message that they are not eligible to file an unemployment insurance claim on the system after entering their social security number, should wait a few days and try again.  The Office of Unemployment Compensation has indicated that the start date for benefits will not be impacted by processing delays caused by this system error.

Individuals who believe they may be eligible for benefits under PUA should review the links above, and may direct any additional questions to a CGA Labor and Employment Attorney.


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