Families First & CARES Acts: Federal Unemployment Info

Posted on Mar 30, 2020 in Main

Note: UI benefits for self-employed persons, bona fide independent contractors, and others who are disqualified from receiving UI for COVID-19-related reasons may be covered through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program under the CARES Act.  Please file your claim at this site.

Overview

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act both include provisions to assist state unemployment insurance (UI) systems with providing additional resources to employers and employees affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Through these provisions, state UI systems will be given funding by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to pay for the new benefits and any associated administrative costs that are incurred in the process.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

This new program, which is modeled on Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), will provide unemployment benefits to individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to work because of COVID-19.

  • Eligibility includes self-employed workers, including gig-workers and independent contractors, part-time workers, and those with limited work histories.
  • Benefits under this program are available to individuals for up to 39 weeks, and assistance shall be available for weeks beginning on or after January 27, 2020.
  • The program is state administered, but fully federally funded.
  • U.S. DOL will provide funding to states through agreements with those states, and payments pursuant to those agreements will be distributed on a monthly basis.
  • All regulations that apply to DUA, unless otherwise noted, apply.
  • The program is effective through December 31, 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The CARES Act creates a new program to extend UI benefits for an additional 13 weeks of benefits paid for by the federal government for individuals who have exhausted their regular benefits.

  • Benefits for these 13 weeks will be provided through a separate account in which the state will deposit the equivalent of 13 weeks of benefits.
  • U.S. DOL will provide funding to states through agreements with those states, and payments pursuant to those agreements will be distributed on a monthly basis.
  • These additional benefits are available through December 31, 2020.

Emergency Increase in UI Compensation

This provision will provide an additional $600 in federal pandemic unemployment compensation to every weekly unemployment recipient until July 31, 2020.

  • This $600 is in addition to the normal amount a recipient would receive pursuant to the state UI benefit formula.
  •  The $600 benefit will be taxable like regular UI benefits.
  • DOL will provide funding to states through agreements with those states, and payments pursuant to those agreements will be distributed on a monthly basis.