FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance announced they have started paying extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
In March 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, providing new and expanded unemployment insurance benefits for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits were recently updated and extended when the Continued Assistance Act, or CAA, was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.
Here is how each of the programs will work:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance covers those who lost income due to COVID-19 who were not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance or had exhausted other unemployment insurance benefits, including self-employed workers, gig workers and independent contractors. The program has been extended for 11 additional weeks through the CAA. The first eligible payments started with the benefit week ending January 2, and payments began processing on January 10, 2021.
Recipients must file a new claim. The last day to file for a new PUA claim is March 13, 2021, and they can continue requesting benefits until April 10, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation allows those who exhausted their unemployment compensation benefits to receive up to 13 additional weeks of benefits. The CAA is providing an additional 11 weeks of payments to those who are eligible until March 13, 2021. Payments under this program began to issue on January 10, 2021.
Those who had a zero balance in their account prior to Dec. 26, 2020, will need to file a new claim in order to receive the additional 11 weeks of benefits. If a claimant has a benefit balance in their account, the additional 11 weeks will be payable beginning with the benefit week ending January 2, 2021. They would continue claiming benefits as usual.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation added an additional $600.00 weekly benefit amount to qualified individuals through the week ending 07/25/2020. The new law provides a weekly benefit of $300 per week for those who qualify from the week ending 1/2/2021 through 03/13/2021. To receive FPUC, a claimant must receive unemployment benefits from a benefit program such as regular UI, PUA or PEUC. This payment will come separately after their weekly benefit amount has been issued. Payments authorized under the Continued Assistance Act will begin to issue on January 19, 2021.
No action is needed by the claimant to receive the $300 additional benefits. It will arrive after the weekly benefit amount has been paid.
Another UI program being programmed is Extended Benefits, or EB, which is for eligible claimants who exhausted both their regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. By law, EB triggers when the three-month average unemployment rate in a state is above 6.5%. The updated Continued Assistance Act allows states to ask for approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to initiate this program without using the unemployment rate as a trigger. The EB program does not have a specific timeline for implementation as the state is still waiting on approval from the U.S. DOL.