How to File for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in Every State

In such states, you must get denied Unemployment Insurance (UI) before applying for PUA. Only a handful of states have one streamlined, general unemployment application that determines your eligibility for both PUA or regular benefits.
If you have already exhausted your state’s Unemployment Insurance benefits, you may receive additional benefits through PUA.
To be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you must be fully or partially unemployed due to one or more of the following reasons:
For simplicity — and because in both instances your first step is filing a general unemployment claim — both methods are categorized as “general unemployment (UI)” on the map, in dark  blue.
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If you’re ready to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you’ll need to gather several types of identification- and income-related documents.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

What Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

PUA now sunsets on March 14, 2021, unless extended by Congress and the Biden administration. Those who haven’t exhausted their PUA benefits as of March 14, 2021, may continue receiving benefits until April 5, 2021.
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Here’s a look at what’s included. (Click a link to jump to the section you need.)

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms and are seeking diagnosis.
  • A member of your household has COVID-19.
  • You are taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a child or other household member who can’t attend school or work because it is closed due to the pandemic.
  • You are quarantined by order of a doctor or health official.
  • You were scheduled to start employment and don’t have a job or can’t reach their workplace as a result of the pandemic.
  • You have become the breadwinner for a household because the head of household died due to COVID-19.
  • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
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The Penny Hoarder looked at the application process in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. when the program was first created. We compiled the information into an interactive map that shows you how to file in each state, then updated the information based on new provisions laid out in the second stimulus package.
Initially, the CARES Act authorized PUA payments for a maximum of 39 weeks. The second stimulus package extended PUA to 50 weeks total — or 11 extra weeks.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was established by the .2 trillion federal stimulus package in March 2020 and was extended by the second stimulus package passed in December 2020.

How the Second Stimulus Package Changes PUA

Depending on which gig app you use and how much you earned, you may not have received any 1099 income forms in the mail. In that case, log on to the app and download your income statements.
All PUA recipients should be expecting to file more paperwork, too. To curb fraud, the second stimulus deal forces current and new PUA recipients to submit documents related to employment or self-employment, according to the DOL.
Based on The Penny Hoarder’s analysis, 35 states and D.C. process PUA applicants using the same application for general unemployment. Only 15 states have separate PUA applications.
Weekly PUA pays half of your state’s average unemployment payment. Average state payments range from roughly 0 to 0, meaning that you can expect PUA payments between and 0 weekly.
Perseverance is key.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the new programs and provisions in the second stimulus package.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect the new programs and provisions in the second stimulus package.

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the new programs and provisions in the second stimulus package.

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Your state may require a few additional documents, but here’s an overview:

Expect Delays

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Depending on your state, PUA effectively expired on Dec. 26 or 27. At the 11th hour, lawmakers rallied to pass a second stimulus package, extending the program for 11 weeks. However, some states had to pause making PUA payments as they implemented the new rules.
This guide will explain everything you need to know about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
PUA grants unemployment benefits to people who don’t typically qualify for their state’s regular unemployment program. A whole new set of people are now eligible for unemployment benefits — namely gig workers, independent contractors and furloughed workers.
If you are approved for at least in unemployment benefits, you will also be eligible for a 0 weekly boost for up to 11 weeks and until March 14, 2021. This 0 boost is known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).