Subject: Another Unemployment Insurance Update: PUA opens tomorrow

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Another Unemployment Insurance Update
April 29, 2020
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is open to applicants tomorrow. This is designed to cover gig-workers, the self-employed, those seeking part-time employment, and individuals lacking sufficient work history. Individuals must be able and available to work unless they cannot work because of the specific circumstances that relate to COVID-19.

However there is a twist. 

First you have to apply for regular unemployment and the determination of whether you are eligible. Then, when you are denied coverage, you apply through the PUA. If you have already been denied, then you apply directly with the documentation of your denial of coverage.

Here is an explanation from Diane Nadeau, President & CEO of the Windham Chamber of Commerce. 

There is an update that was just added to the FAQ on the DOL website.  The questions regarding this are below.  You are correct.  Everyone starting tomorrow will need to apply thru the regular system.  If they did not get a W2 in the last year, they will be denied and get instructions on how to apply for the PUA.  They are still being told not to apply until tomorrow-even for the regular UI. (People are not realizing that they are eligible for regular UI because it looks back over a year)  Once denied they will then apply in the new PUA system.  
Will I need to file for regular benefits at before filing for PUA?
Yes. There are two steps to this process. First, individuals must apply for unemployment benefits at, to determine their eligibility for regular unemployment benefits. In order to be eligible for PUA, individuals must first be denied from being eligible to receive, or exhaust entitlement to regular unemployment benefits or any state or federal extended benefits. Second, once individuals have been denied, individuals must then file for regular PUA benefits in the PUA system.
If I applied prior to April 30th, must I reapply?
If you applied for regular UI benefits prior to PUA activation, you will not need to reapply for another regular UI benefit determination. However, you will need to apply for the federal PUA benefits when the system is built and receiving applications on April 30th. The federal stimulus/benefit will require documentation as to your earnings, as well as certifications as to other requirements. In addition, you will also be asked about the COVID-19 effect on your employment.

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