Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and How to Apply

The current situation forces companies to shut down, and many businesses go bankrupt. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and have to depend on unemployment insurance. Here is all the information you want to know about this policy.

What's Unemployment Compensation?

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program used to increase unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are out of work due to the current situation. FPUC was built by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. The $2 trillion emergency stimulus package was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act extends unemployment benefits through three initiatives: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. 

Who Can Get Help? How Much Can They Get?

FPUC is a flat amount given to people who are receiving unemployment insurance, including those who get a partial unemployment benefit check. It provides a federal benefit of $600 each week. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program extends benefits to self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program extends benefits for an extra 13 weeks after regular unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted. 

The FPUC program applies to people who are available for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. 

How To Apply For Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation?

To apply for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, you need to file a claim for regular benefits with the UI program in the state where you worked. Most states recommend filing online. To successfully file a claim, you must provide your Social Security number, contact information, and details about your former employment. You can check your state's unemployment insurance program to find out the rules in your state.

Most states are still waiting for the Department of Labor to implement the program. Once states begin to offer the extra payment, eligible people will receive refunds. All states have executed agreements with the Department of Labor as of March 28, 2020. Unless the program is extended, FPUC benefit payments will end after July 31, 2020.

What Are The Special Considerations? 

Federal law permits the states' flexibility in amending their laws to offer unemployment insurance benefits in several situations such as:

  • Employees can't work because employers temporarily close due to the current situation.

  • People stop working because of a risk of infection, to care for a family member, or to homeschool their children.

  • People are in isolation and anticipate going back to work after the isolation is over.

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