What Does Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) In Progress Mean?

PUA in progress means that you have claimed unemployment benefits. However, you have not received payment as of now.

This may be due to the fact that L&I is still determining your eligibility for the benefits. However, if you comply with the eligibility requirements of benefits, it should soon indicate the date of payment.

On the other hand, if you are not eligible for the benefits, the status will be displayed as disqualified. It happens because of the fact that payment has been denied; the reason for the denial is sent via message.

It usually happens when you are not in compliance with the eligibility requirements for the PUA.

PUA was developed primarily for working-age Americans who had lost their jobs during the pandemic.

They are unemployed individuals who are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused certain health or economic effects that have left people partially unemployed or unable to work.

PUA covered jobless individuals who were self-employed. And this includes independent contractors, freelancers, and gig economy workers.

These are people who did not pay state unemployment taxes (1099 wages). The PUA was funded by the federal government and has been extended until September 6. Over the past 18 months, several stimulus bills have been passed.

Department of Labor (DOL) guided the program’s administration at the state level. As a result, state-by-state implementation varied, and claimants faced challenges and delays in receiving payments on time.

President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law on March 18, 2020. Additional administrative funding and flexibility were provided to state unemployment insurance agencies due to COVID-19.

It was signed into law on March 27 as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Many workers impacted by the pandemic will receive unemployment insurance, including those who are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

People Who Were Eligible For The PUA

  • Self-employed workers.
  • Business owners.
  • People with a limited work history.
  • Independent contractors.
  • People who had used all their regular UI benefits.
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Detailed aspects of PUA application

You must file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked.

Depending on your state, you can file a claim in person, over the phone, or online. In the event of being unemployed, you should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program immediately.

If you worked in a state other than your own, you should file your claim there. A state unemployment insurance agency where you now live could provide information about how to file your claim if you worked in a state other than where you now live or if you worked in multiple states.

You will be asked for certain information about your former employer when you file an insurance claim. Be sure to provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays in processing your claim.

The Process

In the PUA program, people who weren’t ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits were provided with benefits for up to 79 weeks.

Self-employed individuals, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, members of churches, employees of non-profit organizations, and others are included here.

Unemployment benefits are not available to people with a limited work history. The complete process for applying for the PUA is stated below.

Step 1:

An individual files an unemployment claim with the state he or she is residing. The state in which he or she is living will process the claim, and with that, two emails will be sent to the claimant – one stating that the claim was received; the second one stating that the claim was processed.

Step 2:

Individuals receive a letter with a Benefits Determination, which indicates if they have enough wages to establish a valid regular state unemployment claim.

In this case, an individual receives a second decision letter (Determination of the Claims Examiner) explaining whether state benefits were approved or denied.

Step 3:

PUA applications are available in the MyUI portal for all the individuals to access according to the state they live in further, an email will be sent to those not eligible for state unemployment benefits.

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Step 4:

A PUA application is completed and submitted for processing. After processing the application, an email confirms the processing. It informs the applicant when he/she can begin applying for benefits.

Moreover, the email contains a link to certify employment and provides a secure email address to send the tax year 2019 wage and employment documentation.

These documents play the most crucial part in determining the claim you have admitted with the agency.

All eligible weeks since their business closed due to COVID-19 must be certified (requested payment) by the applicant. PUA benefits are determined by calculating a weekly benefit amount and mailing it to the claimant.

A claimant is notified of the PUA Claims Examiner’s Determination results if his/her claim is approved or denied if a valid claim is established.

With the addition of new questions to the GDOL’s online unemployment application, the agency is better able to identify applicants who may qualify for PUA.

Before federal PUA benefits can be offered to these individuals, state benefits must be determined for the eligibility criteria of an individual.

The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provide that a claimant will be eligible for a $300 weekly supplement if he or she receives at least $1 in federal PUA benefits.

The documentation for earnings must be provided by applicants so that the agency considers itself in a better position to analyze your situation. And with these claims and documentation, the agency will be able to process your application.

Your PUA claim may be based on past earnings not normally covered by regular unemployment, such as self-employment earnings or contract labor.

Documents

A list of acceptable wage and income proofs for PUA claims and a copy of the most recent payroll/income statement from (January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019).

You can provide copies of pay stubs, earnings statements, IRS Form W-2 or IRS Form 1099, and federal income tax Form 1040 along with Schedule C, F, or SE if you are an employee or independent contractor.

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A self-employed individual can send IRS Form 1040 along with copies of Schedules 1, 2, C, F, and SE tax returns.

After a claimant’s benefit year has ended, he or she must reapply for benefits. This will prove to be helpful as the unemployment claims are valid for 52 weeks before being placed back into PUA. PUA claimants must reapply for regular unemployment insurance and benefits.

And in case they are being denied before the individual can reenter the program, send the claim once again to the agency.

Conclusion

Pandemic unemployment assistance in progress means that your application is still in review and the agency is determining your eligibility to receive funds.

Once eligibility is determined, either payment date is given or denial status is updated along with the reason for that.

This program was developed to support people that were affected during the pandemic of COVID-19. And the participants of the program include small business owners, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, freelancers, etc.

Frequently asked questions

Why does the PUA program take a long time for approval?

PUA approval takes a long time because unemployment documents provided by applicants are not similar. Hence, individual verification needs to be performed differently.

So, the overall process can be more time-consuming for the approving and authorizing authority.

Where PUA should be filed as I’ve worked in different states of the United States?

DOL has clarified that PUA should be filed in the state where you have been working at the time of becoming unemployed.

However, if you had been working in multiple states at the time of becoming unemployed, the claim may be filed in any of those states.

Is there an expected extension of PUA in 2022?

Well, there is a discussion among lawmakers about the extension of PUA. It’s due to delta and omicron variants of COVID. However, it’s still not confirmed.