Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania's new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website for self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others not eligible for regular unemployment compensation (UC) will begin accepting applications within the next few days. PUA is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) will announce when the PUA website is ready to accept applications. In the meantime, Pennsylvanians who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to begin gathering the information they will need to file an accurate claim and receive benefits quickly.
Who Should File for PUA
Eligible individuals who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, including:
- Independent contractors;
- Gig workers;
- People without sufficient work history to qualify for regular UC; and
- People who have exhausted regular UC or extended benefits.
In general, PUA:
- Provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits;
- May not be more than the state's maximum weekly benefit rate for regular UC of $572;
- May not be less than half of the state's average weekly benefit amount of $195.
- Payments will be backdated to January 27, 2020 or the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19 (whichever of the two dates is later); and
- Benefits will end December 31, 2020.
Information Needed for Proof of Employment or Self-employment
Acceptable documentation can include, but is not limited to:
- Copies of recent paycheck stubs;
- Bank receipts showing deposits;
- Billing notices provided to your customers;
- Recent advertisements for your business or services;
- Statements from recent customers;
- Current business licenses, ledgers, contracts, invoices; and/or
- Building leases.
Information Needed to Show Previous Income
Acceptable documentation of wages can include, but is not limited to:
- Tax returns;
- Paycheck stubs;
- Bank receipts;
- Invoices; and/or
- Billing statements.
Additional $600 Per Week
Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The additional payments will be:
- Effective from the week ending April 4, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020;
- Backdated and paid in one lump sum; and
- Automatic – you don't need to do anything to receive the extra $600.
Additional COVID-19 information from L&I:
Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health's dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, email@example.com
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