Workers who don’t qualify for regular state UI may be eligible to receive benefits under the PUA program. You may be eligible for PUA if you are self-employed, an independent contractor, freelancer, worker seeking part-time work, or a worker who does not have a long-enough work history to qualify for state UI benefits.
How long does unemployment last
The pandemic benefits that Congress passed in December are set to expire on March 14. The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law by President Biden, extends the following unemployment insurance (UI) benefits until September 6:
· Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – benefits for self-employed people and other unemployed people deemed ineligible for state UI benefits, up to 79 weeks (or in high unemployment states, up to 86 weeks)
· Short-Time Compensation (STC) or Work Sharing – extends federal funding to states to make work-sharing available for employers to rehire employees who they have laid off and to help employers keep people employed who they may be thinking about laying off. Employers can supplement pay with STC payments as they slowly re-open with employees working fewer hours.
What federal unemployment benefits are available?
The CARES Act created the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which can provide 13 weeks of additional benefits to those who’ve been affected by the pandemic and exhausted their state’s regular benefits. Although this program is slated to expire at the end of this year, unless it’s extended by Congress.
Those extended benefits may then be followed by additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits in states with high unemployment (up to 13 or 20 weeks, depending on state laws). That can add up to a total of 59 potential weeks of unemployment benefits—depending again on which state you live in.
(The CARES Act also created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which can go to those who have lost their jobs, or are self-employed and lost income, as a result of the pandemic and who aren’t normally eligible for regular unemployment benefits in their state. Those benefits are available for up to 39 weeks.)
Is my employer required to make us wear masks?
This depends on your employer and the industry in which you work. Face masks covering your nose and mouth are required in any public place where you are unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others. It is recommended that you check with your employer about their safety policy.
Yes. Even if your employer considers you a contractor, or you are a sole proprietor or 1099 employee, you should file. The existing Illinois program covers some of these workers. The new federal PUA program covers the ones that the Illinois program does not.
IDES has a portal for people to apply for help under the new law. You must first apply under the old law and be denied before you can apply under the new law. You can also visit the IDES website to learn more about PUA before applying. It describes who is eligible for PUA, how to file, and how to avoid common application mistakes.