This article is reproduced with the permission of our partner, Trupo.
In our Mutual Aid Google Group, one of the most talked-about topics is how to navigate unemployment insurance.
However, the guidelines for applying vary from state to state, and some have yet to set up their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs. This can leave independent workers with a lot of questions.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been seeing:
What’s the difference between unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
According to the US Department of Labor, unemployment insurance provides benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. In most cases, it does not traditionally cover self-employed workers.
As part of the CARES Act, the federal government introduced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. PUA is the temporary expansion of unemployment insurance so that self-employed workers, part-timers, independent workers, and freelancers can also qualify if they’ve lost work after January 27 as a result of COVID-19.
If you were previously ineligible for UI, you may now be covered under these new guidelines. If you qualify for PUA, you’ll get state money for a maximum of 39 weeks (the amount will vary depending on where you live). Additionally, if you