Eligible Pennsylvanians reminded to apply for pandemic unemployment assistance

The new PUA website is expected to be fully operational by the end of next week or earlier.

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(Harrisburg)—The self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others not normally eligible for regular unemployment compensation are being encouraged to apply now for Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.  The state Department of Labor and Industry reminds applications can be submitted at www.uc.pa.gov/PUA.

The new PUA website was initially launched on April 18 and is expected to be fully operational by the end of next week or earlier.  Pennsylvanians who already applied can soon file weekly claims for which they should be paid approximately two to three days later if there are no issues to resolve.

PUA applicants will soon be able to file for all weeks, including those dating back to the first week of unemployment.  If approved, one lump sum of backdated payments to January 27, 2020 or the first week the applicant was unable to work due to COVID-19 will be paid out.

State Labor and Industry officials say even if someone soon return to work as part of the phased reopening, they are still able to claim and receive backpay if the PUA application is approved.  People who return to work part time must report their weekly earnings when claiming weekly benefits, and those who return full time may simply stop filing.  Claims can be reopened at a later date if the employment situation changes.

Since March 15, more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians and filed for regular unemployment compensation and more than 136,000 have filed for pandemic assistance.

In general, PUA benefits include:

–Up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits

–Not more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular UC of $572

–Not less than $195, which is half of the state’s average weekly payment.

–Payments will be backdated to January 27, 2020 or the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19 (whichever of the two dates is later); and

–Benefits will not be payable for weeks of unemployment ending after December 31, 2020

More information can be found online at uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act


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