With the expiry of the MEUC program in September 2021, many claimants were left high and dry as several states had yet to make partial or initial payments. Fortunately in many states eligible claimants can apply (and provide required documentation) to get current and retroactive back payments for covered weeks. The process is manual in most states and requires you to talk to an agent, but with patience you have a chance to get the money you are due.
Retroactive Payments for 2021 MEUC payments
Several readers have reported trying to claim their 2021 MEUC payments. For many, this has been challenging but some readers (depending on state) have successfully gotten paid. Based on reader comments – see/add to those at the end of the article – the following are some tips that may help you get paid.
- Ensure you qualify for the MEUC program during the covered weeks (see sections below for details)
- If you are sure you meet the criteria contact your local state agency in writing to advise of your claim. Look at your states unemployment website for their official email or address
- You will need to contact some at your state unemployment agency. In almost all states (e.g PA, VA etc) you will need to talk to a live agent to get your retroactive claim processed
- Some sites have clear instructions for retroactive MEUC and other pandemic unemployment payments. But the vast majority (FL, TX etc) do not. You will need to stay very persistent to get your payment and will likely need to jump through many hoops.
- Keep a clear record of conversations, agency employee names and reference/claim details.
- If you have tried the above to no avail, you will need to get in touch with your local state representative or local member to try and get them to push your claim.
- Be careful of scams trying to make you provide payments or confidential data to get paid. These will not work.
$100 MEUC Program Officially Ended in ALL States
The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provided an additional $100 a week for claimants receiving state benefits or PEUC who also meet requirements for self-employment income, has now ended in all states.
The last day of coverage in the mixed earner program was September 6th, 2021. The correlates to the benefit week ending September 4th or 5th in most states. After this date, no additional weeks will be paid. However prior benefits that are owed to claimants for any weeks ending before September 6th will be paid retroactively.
While there was 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. The DES has not indicated that is planning to do so at this stage, but I will post updates if things change.
Note – Many states have had challenges in accepting and paying MEUC claims for covered weeks (prior to Sep 6th). These will be continued to be processed over the next few months and claimants can file claims for eligible weeks via their state unemployment websites. Please review the criteria outlined in sections below for more details.
$100 Weekly Mixed Earner Program Ending Early in Several States
Following recent job reports that showed a shortage of workers to fill open positions, many Republican (RED) led states have announced that they will be ending one or more of the federally funded pandemic unemployment programs up to 10 weeks earlier than planned in order to incentivize workers to return to work.
The argument is that these generous UI benefits deter lower income workers (who make less than $15 p/hour) from returning to work. Opponents argue that the reason people are not going back to work is due to fears around getting COVID and/or child care and schooling restrictions. You can see more on which states are ending the extra weekly $100 MEUC and 300 FPUC here and a recent YouTube video I made on this topic.
States will still be obligated to implement and pay unemployment benefits up to the early termination date in their state (mid June to mid-July in most states). This includes any missing or retroactive payments.
Biden Stimulus Bill Extension for Mixed Earned Program
The Biden ARP Stimulus package recently passed in Congress extends the Mixed Earner supplement (MEUC) and other enhanced unemployment programs (PUA and PEUC) until September 6th. This is equivalent to an additional 25 weeks. It will be added to the 11 weeks approved under the CAA and paid retroactively for states that are still implementing this program.
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) Program Overview
A significant provision in federally funded pandemic unemployment programs is an extra $100 weekly payment to workers who had a significant cut to their income due to COVID and had both wage (W2) income and self-employment (1099) income. Think of this as someone with a normal part-time salaried job who also has a reasonable side hustle or freelancing gig making money (e.g Etsy, Contractors or a blogger/you-tuber making more than $5,000).
The new $100 Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation supplement is intended to address a major hole in the original stimulus package which penalized those with this form of mixed income who got lower unemployment benefits because they were only deemed eligible for regular state unemployment or PEUC due to their wage based income. This precluded them from the possibly higher PUA benefit payment they may have been able to get if their self employment income was used as the basis for their total unemployment benefit calculation.
For example Mary, a freelancer graphic designer, earns a large part of her income through contract projects she does for various clients and gets a 1099 tax form for this work. She also works at a bar part-time on the weekends for which she gets paid a weekly salary that includes tips. She has been getting a W-2 tax form at the end of the year from this job. Mary lost her bar job during the year due to COVID but because she qualifies for traditional unemployment and eventually PEUC – due to being classified as a W2 salaried worker by her state UI agency – when she applied for UI benefits only her W2/bar job income is used in figuring her Weekly Unemployment Benefit Amount (WBA).
However if she was able to use her freelancing/1099 income she have a higher wage base and could have actually qualified for a higher weekly benefit payment under the the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) available to freelance and gig workers. This means that her weekly unemployment check will be lower because the income she made from the bar job, which is used for her UI benefit WBA calculation, is significantly less than what she earns from her freelancing graphic designer contract job.
Surprisingly data showed millions of Americans fell into this mixed earner unemployment hole and the extra $100 per week, on top of a $300 per week FPUC to those getting at least $1 of regular or enhanced unemployment is intended to make up for this gap.
This mixed earner benefit payment is however subject to state discretion, so some states may choose to pay it while others may not. If the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is used as a guideline where states could optionally pay an extra $100, then it is likely only a few states will make this supplementary payment to eligible claimants. Not that this is payment is above and beyond the $300 FPUC that is automatically being paid to eligible claimants (see $300 state tracker). Note that per guidelines, if your state chooses to implement the $100 payment, they must notify you that you are eligible.
Do I qualify for the $100 Mixed earner payment (Examples)?
You qualify if you ALL meet these criteria:
1). Getting at least $1 per week in traditional unemployment insurance, which excludes PUA.
2) Reported $5,000 in 1099 and reportable self-employment income prior to your initial claim. Workers who earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income in 2019 will be eligible for the extra $100 per week.
You will need to submit documentation to prove $5k in self-employment income for new claims. If Initial claim was established in 2020, use tax year 2019 documentation to prove your income. If the claim was established in 2021, use tax year 2020 information.
If you meet the criteria and your state is paying it (see list below) then you will get this payment added to your weekly benefit once your MEUC application is successful.
Will missed payment weeks be retroactively paid due to State rollout delays?
Yes. Almost all states have been late in rolling out the new MEUC program (due to focus on PUA and PEUC program extensions), but as they implement the MEUC updates any retroactive week payments that claimants are eligible will be paid in full. The back payment process will vary by state but will likely be made in one lump sum for eligible weeks.
Do I have to manually apply for the MEUC?
Yes. As this is a separate program and has specific documentation requirements (to prove self employment income) you will have to directly apply for this program.
Your state UI agency will confirm you were receiving unemployment benefits from eligible programs other than Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Why Didn’t I Get My MEUC Payment or Smaller Than Expected
Here are some reasons why your MEUC payment could be delayed or lower than expected
- Your self-employment income could not be verified against official records. Any self-employment not previously disclosed may be investigated and impact your MEUC payment
- MEUC payments are subject to child support deductions, which could lower the payment you received.
- MEUC payments are subject to federal withholding tax and will follow the choice you made for your underlying benefit payment.
- If you commit fraud, you are subject to fines and other penalties.
MEUC payments may also affect your eligibility for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There is no legal exception providing that MEUC payments will be disregarded for purposes of determining income for these programs.
When Will I get the Extra $100 Payment?
State UI agencies are responsible for administering this payment and if they choose to make the “mixed earner” benefit payment they will also have to determine eligibility (subject to DOL guidelines). I will continually update the following table to track which states are making this payment and when you can expect to start processing payments. Feel free to leave a comment if your state has started making payments and I will update.
$100 MEUC (Mixed Earner) Unemployment State Tracker Table
(Click state link for details)
|Enrolled in $100 MEUC Program? (All expire Sep 4th, 2021)
|Suspended until June 30th.
CA EDD now accepting applications
|District of Columbia
|Y - Sep 3rd Application Deadline
State Notifications for Mixed Earner Payments
States who opt into the MEUC program are legally required to notify potential UI claimants about the program. You will get a notice for claimant action that provides instructions on how to apply for the program and key documentation you will need. I would still recommend you check your state UI website regularly (incase you don’t get the official notice) or bookmark this article as I will update the table above when states have the MEUC program up and running.
Note that it is a known issue in many states (e.g. CA, PA) that MEUC processing is going much slower than expected due to the manual checks that state UI Agencies have to do for eligibility. You can see this reflected in the comments below.