COVID-19 federal instructions for PEUC

The United States Department of Labor has issued instructions regarding the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.  PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of benefits for individuals who 1) have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment insurance under state or federal law for a benefit year that ended on or after July 1, 2019; 2) have no right to regular unemployment insurance for a week under any other state or federal unemployment insurance law, or to compensation under any other federal law; 3) are not receiving Canadian unemployment insurance; and 4) are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work recognizing that states must provide flexibility if people are unable to search for work because of COVID-19.

An individual has exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits when no payment of regular unemployment insurance may be made under state law because they have received all available benefits based on employment or wages during the base period, or the right to benefits has terminated because of the expiration of the benefit year for which rights existed.

An individual has no longer exhausted regular unemployment insurance when they can establish a valid new benefit year.  At each quarter change, states must check if the individual has earned enough wages establish a new benefit year in the State, establish a new benefit year in any other state, or establish a new benefit year if wages from one or more states are combined.  When the claimant qualifies for a new claim, the PEUC claim must stop.  If the individual remains unemployed and otherwise eligible, and has not used all of their 13 weeks of benefits, the PEUC claim can continue after the second regular claim is exhausted.

Benefits payable under PEUC are the same amount as a regular unemployment insurance claim.

The first possible week for which PEUC may be paid is the week of April 4, 2020.  PUEC is not payable for any week ending after December 31, 2020.

States must identify people potentially eligible for PEUC and give them written notice of their potential eligibility.  This includes people who have established a claim with a benefit year ending after July 1, 2019 and who have exhausted their claim or their benefit year has expired.

PEUC is payable in the same manner and amount to individuals filing interstate claims as for intrastate claims.  (Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 17-20, April 10, 2020.)