This article was last updated on March 1
Recently published a video on YouTube looking at the challenges millions of PUA claimants are having around getting access to the eleven week extension of benefits (and supplementary $300 payment) under the latest COVID Relief Bill. The comments I got were confirmation of how widespread the issue was and its disappointing to still see so many unemployment agencies/departments behind with the system/program updates to support the new documentation and identify verification updates required to roll out the PUA extension.
You can see the updated $300 FPUC tracker which now also reflects the PUA program update status (where available), since you need to be able to reactivate or file a new claim to get the extra weekly payment – which is automatically added if you qualify for almost any state or federally funded UI benefits. In most states the $300 FPUC is now being paid on top of all underlying UI programs except for the additional 11 weeks of PUA and PEUC funded for 2021 under the CAA.
As a reminder, the diagram below shows the main regular and enhanced unemployment benefit programs currently available, including the ones extended into 2021. The main ones that are delayed are the PUA and PEUC programs which were extended for 11 weeks (with another 3 week phase out for those with remaining balances.
ANTIQUATED SYSTEMS FOR FRAUD CHECKS AND NEW DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS
The main reason that states are having issues with rolling out the 11 week extensions (to the PUA program in particular) is due to the new requirement for claimants to submit documentation to substantiate employment wages. This requirement, in addition to more stringent identity verification, has left many states struggling to update their systems to make this payment. The deadline for providing such documentation depends on when the individual filed the initial PUA claim.
o Filing New Applications for PUA. Individuals filing a new PUA application on or after January 31, 2021 (regardless of whether the claim is backdated), are required to provide documentation within 21 days of application or the date the individual is directed to submit the documentation by the State Agency, whichever is later. The deadline may be extended if the individual has shown good cause under state UC law within 21 days.
o Filing Continued Claims for PUA. Individuals who applied for PUA before January 31, 2021 and receive a payment of PUA on or after December 27, 2020 (regardless of which week ending date is being paid), are required to provide documentation substantiating employment or self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment, within 90 days of application or when directed to submit the documentation by the State Agency, whichever is later. The deadline may be extended if the individual has shown good cause under state UC law
New Requirement for States to Verify Identity of Applicant
For states to have an adequate system for administering the PUA program, states must include procedures for identity verification or validation and for timely payment, to the extent reasonable and practicable, for claims filed on or after January 26, 2021.
Establishes the Requirement for Individuals to Recertify Eligibility Every Week in Statute (Section 263 of the Continued Assistance Act). Individuals must provide a self-certification that their unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability or unavailability to work is specifically attributable to one or more of the COVID-19 related reasons specified in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I)(aa) through (kk) of the CARES Act, and must identify that specific reason, for each week that PUA is claimed. This applies with respect to weeks beginning on or after January 26, 2021
Which Documents Can I Submit To Show Proof of Income
Acceptable documentation of wages can include but is not limited to:
- 2019 or 2020 federal or state tax returns (Depending upon claim filing year)
- 1099 form(s)
- Paycheck stubs
- Bank receipts
- Business records of contracts
- Customer Invoices
Note – Do not mail your documents if you submit them online, as this can delay processing.