Whats Next For Unemployment Benefits
As unemployment benefits are distributed in some states, and running out in others, distressed Americans and state budgets are exhausting their options.
And as the 2020 presidential election comes to an end, congressional lawmakers are resuming conversations to pass a second stimulus package, with extended unemployment benefits as pandemic related unemployment programs are set to expire at years end.
End Of Federal Enhanced Benefits In Pennsylvania
Claimants on the PEUC, PUA, MEUC and FPUC programs certified for benefits for the last time covering the week ending September 4, 2021. Any active claims, with or without remaining balances, will expire after this date and any weeks after Sep 5th will NOT be paid.
Claimants will also need to apply or reapply for UI benefits when they reach the end of their current benefit year . They must also have worked and earned enough qualified wages in the benefit year to qualify .
While there has been a lot of discussion around extending pandemic unemployment benefits, the Biden administration has confirmed that states will have to use already allocated stimulus funding to expand or extend traditional state unemployment programs. PA state leaders have not indicated they are planning to do so at this stage, but I will post updates if things change.
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Am I Eligible For Regular Unemployment Compensation
Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:
- Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.
- Meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your states requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.”
- Meet any additional state requirements. Find details of your own states program.
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Overview And Implementation Details
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government acted by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. As a result, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance implemented three new programs: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance , and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation .
The Continuing Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act, effective December 27, 2020, extended benefits under the CARES Act to March 14, 2021, and added a new program, Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ,signed into law on March 11, 2021, extended benefits under the CARES Act through September 4, 2021, and provided new qualification requirements.
Federal UI benefits, including FPUC, PUA, PEUC, and MEUC ended September 4, 2021. No weeks are payable even if a claimant has a balance or remaining weeks on a claim.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Effective 2/2/2020 9/4/2021, PUA provided up to79weeks of benefits to individuals who were self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation . Coverage includes individuals who have exhausted all rights to regular UC or extended benefits under state or federal law or PEUC and who are affected by COVID-19.
- For more information on PUA visit www.mass.gov/PUA
I Run A Nonprofit Organization And Am A Reimbursing Employer Under My States Unemployment Insurance Program Due To The Economic Impacts Of The Covid
Contact your state unemployment insurance office to learn what options may be available for delaying reimbursement payments. The CARES Act allows states to provide maximum flexibility to reimbursing employers as it relates to timely payments in lieu of contributions and assessment of penalties and interest. The U.S. Department of Labor will soon be issuing guidance on how states should implement this provision.
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Covid 19 Enhanced Benefits And Payment Issues
Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance : expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible forUnemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and gig workers. In general, PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.
Eligible, approved claimants who have no issues with their claim will receive their very first PUA payment whether its the backdated lump sum payment or a regular weekly payment within one week or less after filing their first certification. Claimants will receive their regular weekly payments within three business days after filing their weekly certification. Questions about your claims should be emailed to . You should expect to receive a response within 7 days. This email address is for PUA questions only. Any emails unrelated to PUA will not receive a response.
Note PUA claimants will notice a federally-required change in the weekly claim application for benefits, which was added to Pennsylvanias PUA application on Friday, June 12. The U.S. Department of Labor requires individuals to certify for each week of PUA benefits claimed that they are unemployed for at least one of the valid COVID-19 reasons that cause their job loss.
Unemployment Insurance Relief During Covid
The CARES Act gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. Please contact your states unemployment insurance office at the website or phone number provided below to learn more about the availability of these benefits where you live.
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Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable
Yes and no.
Unemployment benefits are generally taxable. Most states do not withhold taxes from unemployment benefits voluntarily, but you can request they withhold taxes.
But under ARPA, $10,200 of unemployment benefits from 2020 will be tax-free for households with a combined income of less than $150,000 .
That applies to taxpayers filing joint returns, as head of household, or with single status. But the $10,200 exclusion applies separately to each spouse.
If you filed your income taxes before ARPA passed, the Internal Revenue Service will refund any overpayment you may have made related to unemployment benefits.
The IRS says taxpayers will not have to amend their returns or do anything else in order to get the proper adjustment, but stay on top of that. Any refunds should start appearing in May 2021.
Reopen An Existing Claim
If you fall into one of the categories listed below, you should reopen your existing claim.
Reopen claimss can be filed using the same methods listed above for filing an initial application for UC benefits.
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Unemployment Benefits And One
Outdoor dining at Parc on Rittenhouse Square.
Most taxpayers are set to receive a one-time payment of $600 and several unemployment programs will be restarted now that President Donald Trump has signed the second coronavirus stimulus bill.
The $900 billion package provides a $300-a-week subsidy to all workers receiving unemployment, on top of their regular benefits. It also renews two programs created in March by the CARES Act: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance , which provides benefits for freelancers, the self-employed, and others who dont qualify for traditional unemployment and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation , which extends benefits to workers after state aid has run out. Over the weekend, more than half a million Pennsylvanians temporarily lost their unemployment benefits as those programs expired.
That wasnt supposed to happen: Lawmakers in DC passed the stimulus bill with bipartisan support on Dec. 21. But Trump held up the bill over his demand that the one-time payments be increased from $600 to $2000. Sunday night, the incumbent relented and added his signature to the legislation as is. The House passed a bill Monday to authorize larger payments as President Trump requested. The move is likely to die in the senate.
If youre wondering when your check will arrive, whats up with your unemployment, or what else taxpayers should expect from the new program, heres what you need to know.
Eligibility: Who Qualifies For The Extra $300 Unemployment Benefit
To be eligible for the $300 a week benefit, you need to be receiving unemployment benefits from any of these programs:
- Unemployment compensation, including regular State Unemployment Compensation, Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees , and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation
- Payments under the Self-Employment Assistance program.
Low-wage, part-time or seasonal workers may fail to qualify for the extra $300.
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Lost Wages Assistance Program Now Expired/paid
Pennsylvania has now paid out the 300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provided supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The PA L& I department started making payments to eligible claimants starting September 17th . A maximum of 6 weeks or $1800 of payments were made.
There was no new application for LWA. Claimants eligible for LWA will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit amount as long they are eligible for unemployment benefits and unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.
If you are not on PUA, you will have to certify only ONCE for the LWA program. Complete your LWA Certification as soon as possible as funds are limited and not guaranteed. The LWA certification will be available when youre due to file your biweekly claim, or it will be available if you are no longer filing. See more on the PA LWA page.
LWA Program Eligibility
- You must be fully or partially unemployed due to COVID-19, and
- You must have a weekly benefit rate + dependent allowance totaling $100 or more, and
- You must receive a payment each week from an existing UI program
Starting Sunday, Sept. 6, individuals should fill out their LWA certification using their UC PIN by selecting Complete LWA Certification in the same application used to file biweekly claims.
Cutting Off Benefits Is Economically Short
The governors who have withdrawn from the programs are complaining that federal benefits are holding back their recovery because certain employers cannot find the workers they need. However, this claim ignores the fact that the money from federal benefits flows into local businesses through consumer spending, generating another $1.61 in economic activity for every dollar spent. Any benefits that the states businesses might receive from some of these workers, in terms of faster ability to hire them in the short term, would be overwhelmed by the loss of unemployment debit card swipes hitting the cash registers of those same businesses.
On a national level, there are still only 8 million job openings as compared to 16 million jobless workers, and the U.S. economy is still short over 8 million jobs from before the pandemic. With jobs depressed, pandemic benefits have contributed to a fast start for gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2021 .
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Eligible Pennsylvanians To Start Receiving Extra $300
HARRISBURG – The state is ahead of schedule to start giving eligible unemployed Pennsylvanians an extra $300 a week.
The Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced Friday that the state will complete and implement the federal Lost Wages Program ahead of schedule. They’ll start making payments on Sept. 10, and those who apply and qualify will start getting money as early as Sept. 14.
This extra $300 a month will run through December or until federal funding is depleted, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry says.
Late last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Pennsylvania for a new round of $300 in weekly unemployment benefits under a presidential order
- About 90,000 People Still Waiting For Answers As Pennsylvania’s Unresolved Unemployment Claims Drop To 8 Percent
This comes after the extra $600 a week expired.
When it comes to workers who are eligible, this is what the Department of Labor and Industry says in a press release:
Beginning at 6 a.m. on Sept. 6, people who need to complete the certification process can do that online.
Lost Wages Assistance will be made for claims for previous weeks dating back to Aug. 1.
Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Expired On Labor Day Could They Be Renewed
Millions of Americans lost jobless benefits this month. Some lawmakers are proposing that aid be reinstated in an upcoming spending package. Here’s the latest.
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The September termination of unemployment benefits was considered the largest in US history.
After the pandemic-related expansion of unemployment insurance ended on Sept. 6, roughly 7.5 million people lost their benefits entirely, with millions more losing the $300 weekly bonus checks. The temporary federal benefits — which included coverage for those normally ineligible for jobless aid, like gig workers and the long-term unemployed — were in place since spring 2020 to help those who lost income from COVID-19 restrictions or layoffs.
With the uptick in delta-variant cases, the COVID era hasn’t come to a close. Could the White House renew those extra benefits? What can people do who need unemployment coverage to make ends meet? We’ll explain below. This story has been recently updated.
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Biden Emergency Extension To Pandemic Unemployment Benefits
With the rapid spread of and potential economic slowdown from the virulent Delta COVID-19 strain there is now talk of the Biden administration repurposing some of existing ARPA stimulus bill funding to extend pandemic unemployment programs to the end of 2022.
This is similar to the six week LWA extension that President Trump passed by executive order last year when Congress could not initially agree on funding an extension to pandemic unemployment benefits.
If Congress cannot provide additional funding then this will be the most likely path for a short-term emergency extension of pandemic benefits and could be done relatively quickly along party lines, or simply by a Presidential Executive order. White House lawyers are likely already working on this as a possible option.
Note that states which had ceased participation early in the federally funded unemployment programs will need to reapply to get access to this short term extension, if indeed it is passed.
To Extend or Not?
Which States Ended Unemployment Benefits Early?
Following recent job reports that showed a shortage of workers to fill open positions, many Republican led states have now ended federally funded pandemic unemployment programs in order to incentivize workers to return to work. You can see the table below for when states ended one or more of the pandemic unemployment programs early.
|States Ending Unemployment Early|
|$300 FPUC, PUA, PEUC, MEUC|
I Am An Independent Contractor Am I Eligible For Unemployment Benefits Under The Cares Act
You may be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on your personal circumstances and how your state chooses to implement the CARES Act. States are permitted to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation. To qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits, which are available retroactively starting with weeks of unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020, and ending on or before December 31, 2020. The amount of benefits paid out will vary by state and are calculated based on the weekly benefit amounts provided under a states unemployment insurance laws. Under the CARES Act, the WBA may be supplemented by the additional unemployment assistance provided under the Act.
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What You Need Before You Get Started
- Home address and mailing address .
- Telephone number.
- Valid email.
- Personal Identification Number . If you have previously filed a UC claim using your previous PIN can prevent you from having to re-enter information.
- Direct deposit bank information : Bank name, address, account number, and routing number.
In some cases, additional information is needed. For a complete list, view our requirements checklist.
Information about Separating Employer:
- Employers name, address, and phone number.
- Employers PA UC account number .
- First and last day worked with employer.
- Reason for leaving or the reason you are working fewer hours.
- Pension or severance package information .
Tools to Help You File
- Frequently Asked Questions A resource to help answer any questions you may have about filing or receiving unemployment compensation benefits, including eligibility, how your weekly benefit is calculated, and more.
- Self-service Step-by-step Instructions These step-by-step guides and instructions will guide you through many UC online services, including how to file an initial claim, how to file a weekly certification, and more.
- New UC System Resources Video tutorials, workshop recordings, and more.
What Can The Claimant Do If He Or She Believes A Job Offer Is Not For Suitable Employment
If a state raises an issue of failure to accept suitable employment, the state unemployment insurance agency must provide the claimant with an opportunity to provide his or her side of the story and to rebut any evidence provided to the state before making a final determination.
Most state laws allow for refusal of suitable employment for good cause, which is defined in state law. Criteria for good cause may include, but are not limited to, the degree of risk to an individuals health, safety, and morals the individuals physical fitness, prior training, experience, and earnings the length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in a customary occupation and the distance of the available work from the individuals residence.
Claimants may file an appeal if they disagree with a states determination regarding suitable work. Please contact your state unemployment insurance agency for additional information.
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