What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation?
Last updated April 2, 2020
The PUA will provide cash assistance to those who have lost their jobs or income due to coronavirus, who are quarantined, who are caring for a child whose school is closed, who had to quit their job as a direct result of the coronavirus, who are caring for someone who is sick, and for other coronavirus-related reasons. See this fact sheet from the National Employment Law Project for a full list of who qualifies. PUA is a federal program which came out of the stimulus bill signed on Friday, March 27. The program will be administered by individual states, usually by the state workforce agency, which in various states may be called the labor, workforce, economic opportunity department. Use this Unemployment Benefits Finder from the U.S. Department of Labor to find the name of the responsible agency in your state.
PUA is intended for people who suffer work loss but are not eligible for regular unemployment compensation, including people who are self-employed (including “gig” workers like Uber/Lyft drivers), those who are seeking only part-time work, and workers who do not have a long enough work history to qualify for regular state unemployment benefits.
The maximum weekly benefit is determined by prior wages/earnings. The minimum benefit is equal to one-half the state’s average weekly unemployment benefit (nationally, this averages out to about $190 a week). You can find the average weekly benefit in your state at this page at the U.S. Department of Labor (choose your state, not region, keep the default to the most recent year, click Submit and look at “Average WBA” for the amount, but be prepared, in many states, it’s shockingly low). Here is an example for Florida: