State Unemployment and Labor Departments Should Start Planning NOW For Further 2021 Extensions of PUA, PEUC and FPUC Programs Under Biden COVID Relief Plan

Update following Biden Extensions to Unemployment Benefits

With Enhanced unemployment extension rules under the Biden Stimulus plan now drafted in legislation, it was good to see minimal changes to the PUA and PEUC programs, other than extending them by 24 weeks to the end of August 2021. The FPUC amount will increase from $300 to $400, for another 24 weeks as well.

All this should mean that states should have far less trouble updating their antiquated unemployment systems and programs for these changes – since no new programming should be needed! This will then hopefully translate to fewer people seeing a lapse in benefits and allow the backlog of manual claims to fully get processed.

I hope this is the case, but realistically some some states (NJ, VA, WI, NV, CA) that are having trouble with getting even the current extensions (till March 14th) under the CAA bill in place and paid, will likely have a bumpy rollout with the next round of UI extensions as well.

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The Ongoing Rollout Challenges of 2021 Unemployment Extensions

With the terrible rollout of the extended weeks of UI coverage under the Pandemic Enhanced Unemployment programs, part of the COVID relief bill (CAA), many Americans across several states have missed out on getting timely benefits and supplementary payments that they should have been eligible for from the start of the year. The reason was attributed to the insufficient time many of the states had to upgrade unemployment systems/programs for the approved 2021 extensions due to the delay in signing of the COVID relief bill (Dec 27th, 2021) and implementation guidelines (Jan 1st, 2021) from the Department of Labor. The first week the benefits were meant to be available was the week ending Jan 2nd, 2021.

It’s sad the number of comments I’m seeing on various articles I have written on this topic, this recent YouTube video and across social media how desperate people are for the UI benefits they are expecting and any information on when systems will be updated to allow them to file claims and benefits to be paid. But there should be no reason for lengthy delays in the next round of extensions that everyone knows are coming under the Biden administration in the next stimulus bill.

NJ DOL Acknowledges Ongoing Issues and References Other States With Delayed UI Rollouts

President Biden has telegraphed loud and clear in his new administration’s economic plan that he will be proposing additional extensions to the enhanced unemployment programs. Specifically he is looking for a six-month extension to COVID related enhanced unemployment benefit programs like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that are currently set to expire in mid-March (with a brief phase out until April 10th, 2021). Also included in Biden’s proposal is another supplementary weekly unemployment benefit to $400, versus the current $300 FPUC payment. I have provided a summary of what this could look like in the diagram below.

Biden Unemployment Extensions to PUA, PEUC and FPUC
Biden COVID Relief Stimulus Plan Unemployment Extensions to PUA, PEUC and FPUC Until Sep 2021

Given that the Biden extensions will likely follow the same structure as the current eleven week extension, state UI agencies should have plenty of time to quickly implement the extended coverage period benefits when the new extensions likely become available (and are approved by Congress). While the final duration for the extension period and supplementary weekly amount may change as Congressional negotiations take place on the final Biden stimulus bill, the remaining aspects of the enhanced UI programs should remain the same. So the states should have minimal system updates to make around the next round of extensions in 2021 and they should start getting prepared now to implement these. In addition Congress and the Department of Labor should allocate emergency funding to allow states to get ready for the next round of enhancements.

The Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) or the extra $300 of weekly unemployment benefits expire on March 14. Additionally, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), providing benefits to contractors and self-employed, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) expire on April 11.

Sadly I don’t expect this to be the case and states like Virginia, Florida and New Jersey – who have had among the worst roll-outs for prior programs – will likely continue having issues in making timely payments due to their antiquated systems and large volume of claimants. I would strongly suggest you plan ahead for potential delays and contact your local representatives to ensure they keep the pressure on their local state UI agencies to be ready the next time around.

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7 thoughts on “State Unemployment and Labor Departments Should Start Planning NOW For Further 2021 Extensions of PUA, PEUC and FPUC Programs Under Biden COVID Relief Plan”

  1. My 13 weeks of PEUC ended the end of November,I continued to file my weekly claim as instructed.Was notified that my 11 weeks of PEUC was approved startin 2/10/2021 Followed instructions on my gov2go site to reinstate the PEUC program,was assured would receive back pay to 1/2/2021,continue to file weekly claim! Today is March 3rd,7 more days to claim before this expires.Was advised this AM via gov2go site,had to submit PUA application.Have never been in PUA program,when I tried to complete form, tells me Ss number is onfile,on file, in 2021PEUC.Nomoney going on 4 months,have depleted savings account,most of retirement…we are getting hungry,barely makin bill payments..Senator does not help….we need help Now!

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  2. I am a self-employed recipient of the PUA benefits in the state of Oregon. I had tax return documentation to verify the claim was legitimate. However, I am no longer receiving the benefits because the Oregon Unemployment said the Labor Department had set a 50 week limit to draw PUA funds. Will the Labor Department extend that 50 week limit so that people in my position can draw PUA?

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  3. Desperate in Kentucky!!! My name is Peggy and my husband’s name is Tony, we both were layed off from our jobs on 12/20/2019, we applied for UI benefits on 12/30/2019, but we did not begin receiving our benefits until the end of January 2020 due to a error on our claims, then we received UI benefits until the beginning of July 2020, we then began receiving benefits under the PEUC benefit program and received benefits for a additional 13 weeks and then we began receiving benefits under the EB program and we received 2 payments each and we then found out from watching our local news channel that EB benefits were ending abruptly in Kentucky due to the unemployment rate falling under a certain percentage and then low and behold we did not receive any benefits when we filed for our next benefit weeks and now it is February 2021 and we have both tried to file for additional benefits but have received nothing as of yet!!! We have done a lot of praying because we are doing our best to serve God and we know we can always depend on our Jesus to carry us through anything. It just gets frustrating when you try to depend on someone or something in this world to help you but no one at the unemployment office will answer the phone and I have sent several emails and have not received a response from any of them, can someone please help us and let us know if we should be receiving an extension for EB or an extension again under the PEUC Program??? My husband and I know that God will carry us through no matter what happens!!! Thank you in advance and May God Bless you!!!

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    • Desperate in Kentucky still!!! This is Peggy and Tony again in Louisville, Kentucky. I want to thank you so much for responding to my email concerning unemployment benefits in Kentucky! I forgot to mention that many people in KY are already receiving unemployment benefits under the PUA and PEUC and also the additional $300 a week benefits in addition to their PUA & PEUC benefits, it is the ones of us who lost their EB benefits abruptly at the end of November 2020 that are not receiving any benefits as of yet from our unemployment officials and we have received our $600 stimulus checks and are very grateful to God and others that we received this. I can not forget about one woman who also had a child that was on the news when they were telling about the EB benefits abruptly ending and Christmas was coming upon us quickly and this poor woman had the sound of desperation in her voice talking about how she did not know what she was going to do. So for her, myself, my husband and many others can you give us a time frame when we may get benefits again? Thank you again and God bless you for all your help

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  4. Andy,
    I desperately need your expertise and help with a quick question. Thank you so much in advance!!
    Illinois finally sent an update out yesterday on their ides web page and Twitter page. The only problem is that the information for people who have exhausted all their benefits and are wondering when the 11 additional weeks of peuc will be implemented, remains very much still a mystery by my interpretation. For pua it states very clearly, that people will be contacted this week. But for people that have nothing to do with pua and have exhausted all their benefits and are waiting for the peuc, their response is very convoluted, and vague at best, at least my interpretation of it. Obviously, your a lot more versed and knowledgeable on all of this, so I was hoping and praying that you could please give me your interpretation of what is said or your best educated guess when people like myself might get help or clarification on what it means by what they said. I really dont understand what they are saying and I have a pretty decent understanding of all the unemployment terminology but the stuff they talk about in relation to people in my situation is totally over my head and not understandable. Please help!!!

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  5. Andy:
    Many are at the mercy of waiting in line for weeks just in hope of a call back. I’m an Illinois PEUC exhaustee effective Dec. 26th 2020 and entitled to an addition 11 weeks under the program effective Dec. 27th 2020 when the new Act was signed. However after many weeks of getting a representative, I’ve been misinformed twice. One rep was not even aware of an extension and I had to basically educate her. Either they are not properly trained to have the understanding of the new legalities and structure under the new legislations but they are completely left in the dark. I am left having to wait now for a supervisor that I requested due to their inaccurate and unknowledgeable misinformation. My account has still been left unrectified and I’m literally fighting for my benefits including retro benefits dated back to the week ending 1/2/2021 awaiting a supervisor. Peoples lives are at stake here and I am in such disbelief that I cannot trust what I’m being told because I understand the process better than they do.

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    • It is the same problem in Arkansas, some of the state employees will do the job but some do not and don’t care. and since the beginning of 2020, they had a problem with theft in the system. so for that reason, I understand still they need to hire better employees and fix the problem faster. God bless the U.S.A.and the American people.

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