Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – 2021 Extension Delays and Zero Weeks Claim Balance

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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.

2021 Enhanced UI Benefits Extension

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
  • Ledgers
  • Business records of contracts
  • Customer Invoices

Note – Do not mail your documents if you submit them online, as this can delay processing.

13 thoughts on “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – 2021 Extension Delays and Zero Weeks Claim Balance

  1. I have a insuficient work history ive been i was looking for a job when the pandemic started but due to that is harder for me to get a job now my son has to do school from hone since the school is close and on top of that i have a babe and ive been struggling to find somebody or a daycare facility to stay with them for me to work now pua in PA is asking to submit documents do i have to submit any documents to them and what type of documents i have already submited my social and driver license before im so confuse

  2. I have been receiving pua benefits since December but did receive back pay for all months back to April 2020. Regarding the proof of income request….I dont understand what they need exactly. I was supposed to start a job on someones house and had it set up but the contract was cancelled because of covid and my wife was home with three children because their schools have been closed since march of 2020. my one daughter is special needs and has to be watched and helped to get on zoom and everything else and my wife got the request for proof as well. Is it for 2019? what if we didnt work in 2019? would the contract be ok and something showing it was cancelled because of covid? why does my wife have to prove anything when she was approved for the kids being home?

    1. You’d have to send in a copy of the contract, with the peoples name and contact number on it.

      Stay at home parents are not entitled to PUA. It is a program for working people.

  3. I am having the same thing in KY also. I exhausted my PUA in December 22 nd. I refiled in mid-January and have been claiming each week since. One week my account said it was being filed and processed, then the next week said under investigation. Then it said filed and being processed again! I have spent HOURS AND HOURS trying to get through in the phone. I’ve emailed every person whose email I found and to no avail. I need HELP!!!

  4. the last payment i received was nov. 20 2020. I am having trouble opening a new claim……any help out there??

  5. Could anyone help with the PYA in ky . I swear people are dying out. What are they supposed to do. You can’t get ahold of anyone to talk to anyone. What other options does a person have . I mean the ones they know are good to go just submit and push the button already. As it is only one click away

  6. I filed for PUA in December got my monetary determination, $354/week, I filed my fir and that’s when it ended. I have been filing every week, it has a list of every week, says my money was approved yet haven’t received any, says it is in progress, and $0 have been claimed.i have $0.58 in my account. I have been running on $7 since before Thanksgiving. I’m hungry, I have needs to be met, the few things I have left I’m about to loose bc I haven’t paid my storage fee in two months. I have been replying to job posts everyday. I’m beyond wits end and all I can do is sit here in the cold and cry. I’m mentally exhausted and it’s trying to get the money that is owed from 20 yrs of working. I don’t know what else to do. Pa PUA is paying other ppl why aren’t they paying me.

  7. This is Regina williams and I am on PUA in Kentucky and can’t get through to anyone either . I did have to file a new claim a month ago and now it saids it is processed and been submitted but still no money.u can’t talk to any humans they never call back and I just don’t know what to do . I recently sent in all identification and verifications and still nothing . This is rediculous . And also my daughter Tasha Williams received it for one week then bam nothing . What are people supposed to do I mean really.

    1. I am having the same thing in KY also. I exhausted my PUA in December 22 nd. I refiled in mid-January and have been claiming each week since. One week my account said it was being filed and processed, then the next week said under investigation. Then it said filed and being processed again! I have spent HOURS AND HOURS trying to get through in the phone. I’ve emailed every person whose email I found and to no avail. I need HELP!!!

  8. I am only on 30 week of PUA w/my last payment @ end of December. I have filed correctly every week for weekly benefits but haven’t received ANY payments since end of
    December 2020. Lady said I should have recieved a payment and she didn’t know what was going on told me to call Customer service(thought that’s what she !?!) Cant get thru tr o anyone of course
    I’m in VIRGINIA. Anyone know anything to help??!

  9. Hi. My name is Christy Clark and I have been receiving The Pua unemployment benefits since May of last year 2020 . I live in the state of Virginia And I did exhaust As benefits December 12th 2020 . I am having a Really rough time getting any help Through my states unemployment Commission And don’t know what to do. On the app where I have always filed my Weekly Pua Claims, A New test showed up That said to Fall The initial claim for Virginia Unemployment or reopen a claim that had been closed recently. And Since Virginia will not tell anyone what we are supposed to be doing, I thought I needed to fall that because I did it exhausted . I started there because that’s where I had to start in the initial filing for the Pua benefits and Was told then In May of last year, Do not put my wages down because I was self-employed. So this time I did not put my wages And submitted my claim . I Received a letter in the mail About a week later Saying that I had been denied Due to no wages In the base periods above . Which the first time this is what Was supposed to happen So I Thought everything was Still okay. I went to file my claim after receiving that letter And never had any additional weeks to file. Got ahold of someone at the Virginia Employment Commission, VEC, And she informed me that I was not eligible and they Did not have the Pua program anymore . Of course devastated I was looking everywhere For information And I watch your Channel all the time on YouTube , And immediately Started calling again And I also uploaded My proof of income Since that’s why I was denied is what my Determination letter said , And tried to call again for 3 weeks straight. I could not get an answer ever . Finally I called and was looking up the information on the automated system And it said that My claim was denied due to an outstanding issue , Which I cannot Figure out what it is but Have been told by Other unemployment Members That It’s probably because of the no wages Being the reason for denial. That is when I actually uploaded the Verification of my income . After calling almost three hundred times to a different number today , I finally got ahold of someone That Could only tell me That I was not eligible for their program And She could not tell me what the outstanding issue was but did agree that more than likely it was the denial due to no wages On the application . I was asking her If she could look and just check And see If she could find where I uploaded my income verification And the lady hung up on me . I’m literally About to pull my hair out. I do not know what to do And can’t get ahold of even my local office In Virginia. Can you please tell me what I can do or who I can get a hold of Besides Virginia Employment Commission because I have tried that For 3 weeks And I either get no answer Or they answer Can’t tell me anything and hang up on me . I A.m Still unemployed Because When this pandemic hit, with the type of work I do, I have not been able to get My equipment bought back that I’ve had to sell And people really don’t want you coming in their houses Right now To do any type of work . I am just really frustrated With the way Virginia is handling things And to have employees that Make very rude comments Two people when they call in And also I’m not the only person that they have just hung up on When they did not want to deal with someone Or Their problem Even though that’s what Is included with the job title they have. Any information Or help that you can offer is greatly appreciated . And I apologize in advance if there’s anything in this message that you cannot understand because I am talk texting And Sometimes it just puts whatever it wants to LOL. Once again thank you very much

    1. Pretty much same boat. Cannot get through to a human and when I ever did before, no matter how nice I was they were flat out rude. Now I just can’t get through at all…..

      1. Know one answer the phone just press 1 23 ?.. it’s Driving me nuts ,,the more the vec try’s to help the more I don’t know what to do……I was laid off Last March,,,,,,cover19 is not helping …need to know what to do….

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