PUAWhat Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. PUA is one of the programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus emergency stimulus package that President Trump signed into law on March 27, 2020. The Act expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance to many workers affected by COVID-19, including people who aren’t ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.


  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), established by the CARES Act, temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers.
  • You must provide self-certification that you are able to work and available for work, and that you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work due to a COVID-19-related situation.
  • Benefit amounts are calculated based on previous earnings, using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program under the Stafford Act.
  • Those who are eligible for PUA can also receive $600 per week through July 31, 2020, under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
  • States may not be ready to process claims for freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors for awhile, but workers will be eligible for retroactive benefits and can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks.

Read the full article here by Jennifer Cook via Investopedia.

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