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  • Kim Pierce

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program


The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (through December 31, 2020) will help those not traditionally eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI), including self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those with limited work history and those who are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus public health emergency. Pays 50% of the unemployment insurance costs incurred by state, local and tribal governments and non-profit organizations, not part of the UI system.


How much would I receive?

It depends on your state. Benefits would be expanded in a bid to replace the average worker’s paycheck. The average worker earns about $1,000 a week, and unemployment benefits often replace roughly 40 to 45 percent of that. The expansion would pay an extra amount to fill the gap.


Under the plan, eligible workers would get an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefit. But some states are more generous than others. The maximum weekly benefit in Alabama is $275, but it’s $450 in California and $713 in New Jersey.


So let’s say a worker was making $1,100 per week in New York; she’d be eligible for the maximum state unemployment benefit of $504 per week. Under the new program, she gets an additional $600 of federal pandemic unemployment compensation, for a total of $1,104, essentially replacing her original paycheck.


States have the option of providing the entire amount in one payment, or sending the extra portion separately. But it must all be done on the same weekly basis. More information and the process to apply is forthcoming. I will share that information as I receive it. 

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