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The Ministry of Labor has expanded Eligibility for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program enables those already unemployed to retain their benefits if they decline to work due to COVID safety concerns. The changes are retroactive, so you can qualify for a nice flat rate at the end of March. Here’s what you need to know.
The PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) program created under the CARES Act is being temporarily expanded unemployment insurance Entitlement to self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors and part-time workers affected by the pandemic. To qualify, under the penalty of perjury, you must state that you are available for work and that you are unemployed due to a COVID-related situation.
Following an instruction from President Biden last month, the Department of Labor clarified and expanded PUA eligibility for workers in the following scenarios:
- Workers who are already receiving unemployment benefits but who refuse to work for a potential employer because they do not adhere to local or state COVID safety standards such as social distancing, wearing masks or personal protective equipment.
- Employees who have been made redundant or whose working hours have been reduced because their employer has closed or partially closed due to COVID.
- Uncontracted school workers who have no guarantee of continued pay when schools are closed due to the pandemic.
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The benefits are retroactive and apply as if they were included at the start of the PUA program. However, individuals submitting their first PUA application after December 27, 2020 are limited to weeks of unemployment beginning on or after December 6, 2020.
Considering the unemployed receive a $ 300 weekly top-up on their state benefits, which averages around $ 30 $ 320 a weekThe retrospective grant could result in a large lump sum payment in late March (the Department of Labor says government agencies will need a few weeks to implement the changes). For first-time applicants, the first payment would be around four months of benefits.
“So far, many workers have been involved in a vicious business, risking coronavirus infection, or choosing some level of security and living without income support,” said Suzi Levine, assistant chief secretary for work and employment. in an interview with Reuters.
How do I apply?
You need to apply to the unemployment insurance company in the state where you worked (search by state) Here). Depending on the federal state, claims can be made in person, by telephone or online.