Category

CARES ACT

COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Legislation: Update on the Extension (or Expansion) of the CARES Act

As both parties continue negotiations on continued virus relief, Republicans announced their own plan for a new U.S. virus-relief bill broadly endorsing a fresh round of stimulus checks to individuals, extended supplemental unemployment benefits and additional funding for COVID-19 testing while also voicing doubts over President Trump’s desire for a payroll tax cut.

The details remain in flux as GOP senators hashed out their opening bid in negotiations with Democrats on legislation to prop up the slowed U.S. economy. The differences between the GOP and the White House regarding the payroll tax cut threatens to push any action on the stimulus into August.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows started this week by saying their goal was to get a stimulus bill out of Congress by the end of next week (July 31st). But after getting pushback from Senate Republicans on several issues, including the payroll tax cut, both ended the day Tuesday dialing back expectations.

Mnuchin and Meadows met Tuesday (July 21st) over lunch with Republican Senators, but no outline for legislation emerged. Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy said the two Trump advisers discussed a lot of ideas, but “we haven’t reached a conclusion on anything.”

Democrat Senators Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said the lack of consensus among Republicans means real negotiations cannot start yet to bridge the differences between the GOP plan for $1 trillion in stimulus funds and the Democrats’ proposal for a $3.5 trillion package.

All the while, President Trump has expressed confidence that a deal will emerge saying “We’re working very hard on it, we’re making a lot of progress. I know that both sides want to get it done.”

The White House and Congress have only a few weeks to come up with another stimulus package before lawmakers take a scheduled August break and the $2.9 trillion flood of federal money passed by Congress earlier in the year begins to dry up.

The crux for Republicans is the President’s insistence on cutting or suspending the payroll tax paid by employers and employees, which funds Social Security and Medicare.

Mnuchin said it would be included in the Republican proposal, but some GOP senators, such as South Dakota’s John Thune, said they remain skeptical. Thune has stated “I’m not a fan of that. If it’s a choice between doing checks and payroll tax cut, I think it’s pretty clear the checks actually have a more direct benefit to the economy.”

Although Trump has suggested he might not sign a bill without the payroll tax cut, Mnuchin and Meadows indicated some flexibility in talks.

There are signs of a possible compromise on extending the supplemental unemployment insurance that was part of the stimulus measure passed in March and is set to expire on July 31st.

Section 2104 of the CARES Act provided individuals who were unemployed as a result of COVID-19, $600 a week in additional unemployment benefits, completely funded by the federal government. Republicans argued it created a disincentive for returning to work in some areas because unemployed individuals could get more than they earned at their jobs. Thus, some GOP lawmakers have floated the idea of lowering the supplement to $200 or $400 as part of the new package.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said that the administration favors some type of additional unemployment aid, along with direct checks to individuals and a payroll-tax holiday for middle and low-income Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP plan will include a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, but it would be targeted to businesses most affected by the pandemic. He said there will be funding to reimburse businesses for the costs of safe workplaces, including personal protective equipment, virus testing, cleaning and remodeling to protect workers and entice customers. Additionally, there also will be money for some child-care assistance and funding for a vaccine. The Republican plan also will have $105 billion to aid schools in safely reopening.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at www.thomas-and-company.com.

The CARES Act & the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Executive Order:

Florida’s governor signed Executive Order 20-104. This order suspends the biweekly “actively seeking work” reporting requirement for those seeking unemployment benefits.

Reemployment Assistance Processed Claims:

From March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020, the state notes that 141,451 claims went through the initial monetary determination process, which means that a decision has been made on whether individuals are monetarily eligible to receive reemployment assistance.

Reemployment Assistance Claims Paid:

From March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020, the Florida Department of Economic Security issued 121,102 payments to individuals in reemployment assistance, totaling $47,544,993. This includes 33,623 individuals who applied for reemployment assistance benefits after March 15, 2020.

For the week of April 17, 2020, a total of 23,801 checks for $600 were sent to individuals through the CARES Act. These checks were sent via paper to ensure they were distributed as quickly as possible. Please be aware that any individuals who received their $600 check will receive their state benefits for reemployment assistance via direct deposit or prepaid debit card based on the preference selected in the application process.

Reemployment Assistance Initial Claims:

Statistics on initial claims filed for reemployment assistance are below.

  • For the week ending March 21, 2020, the state received 74,313 applications.
  • For the week ending March 28, 2020, the state received 228,484 applications.
  • For the week ending April 4, 2020, the state received 169,885 applications.
  • For the week ending April 11, 2020, the state received approximately 175,306 applications.

CARES Act Update:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits to those that may not be eligible for regular benefits, including individuals who are self-employed or independent contractors. The state is expected to provide additional information on PUA within the week.

System Enhancements:

The state announced that they will conduct routine maintenance to their CONNECT system to help with processing claims. Therefore, CONNECT will be unavailable from 8pm to 8am, daily. Any individuals who need to certify must log into CONNECT between 8am and 7:59pm, and log into the system during their scheduled reporting time, to have their claims processed in a timely manner. However, this maintenance will not affect anyone that needs to file a new claim. The CONNECT system will be available for new claims 24/7.

For more information about benefits, including how to apply and frequently asked questions, please visit the state’s website at https://www.floridajobs.org/covid-19.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development started to issue the new $600 federal pandemic unemployment compensation to individuals impacted by COVID-19. The state notes that their first federal disbursement included $12,853,200 to 16,183 individuals currently covered by their current unemployment program.

Also, the state advised that the federal pandemic unemployment payment will be retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020 and that the payment will be in addition to regular benefits. Individuals who have received benefits for week ending April 4, 2020, will receive a separate disbursement with the additional $600 payment. The payment will be available for each week of eligibility through July 25, 2020.

Finally, the state will begin to process applications for self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers on the week of April 20, 2020, with payment being issued about two weeks later. Individuals who previously filed and received ineligibility notifications will be contacted for income verification to complete their application process. The state notes that payment will be retroactively made to the week ending April 4, 2020.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) advised that they have fully implemented Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). PEUC provides a 13-week extension for unemployment benefits for eligible applications.

In Minnesota, approximately 8,000 individuals exhausted, or are expected to soon exhaust, their benefits. Individuals will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits, as well as the additional $600 payments, with PEUC fully implemented. Individuals can login to their account at https://www.uimn.org if they exhausted their benefits and believe they are eligible for extended benefits under PEUC.

 The final part of the CARES Act that is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will provide unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers and others who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits. The state believes that they will have this program fully operational by the end of April 2020. However, the state encourages those who think they are eligible to apply online.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Idaho Department of Labor

State Claims Volume:

The Idaho Department of Labor adjusted their phone schedule. From 8am to 4pm MST, the state will accept incoming calls. From 4pm to 6pm MST, the state will process unemployment claims. Additionally, the state advised that staff will be reassigned to help process claims and will hire 12 or more claims specialists to assist with the claim volume. The schedule and additional claims specialists will help to free up time for staff to return phone calls, resolve issues that might benefit payment, and process claims as quickly as possible.

Over the last 3 weeks, the state issued 77,430 payments for a total of $17.95 million to more than 30,546 individuals whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 over the last three weeks.

Individuals do not need to call the state in order to file a claim for benefits and can access the claimant portal via cell phones and tablets too. Common questions can be found at the state’s FAQ page at https://idahoatwork.com/2020/03/18/faqs-about-unemployment-insurance-and-covid-19/.

 

The CARES Act:

The Idaho Department of Labor advised that the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUAC) benefit payments should be available to individuals by the end of April 2020. Individuals who are currently filing or receiving benefits under the state’s regular unemployment program already qualify for the additional $600 and do not need to take further action. The benefits will retroactively begin on March 29, 2020 and ends with the week of July 25, 2020.

However, the state also stated that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will take a little more time to implement within their current unemployment insurance program. PUA would grant benefits to those that are self-employed, contract employees, and others not ordinarily eligible for benefits. This new program requires that the state make significant system upgrades to process payments and state officials expect it will be May 2020 before payments occur for these types of individuals. The state also expects more guidance from the Department of Labor before it can fully administer the benefits, which is retroactive to February 2, 2020, and ends December 26, 2020.

More information about the CARES Act can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website: https://idahoatwork.com/2020/03/18/faqs-about-unemployment-insurance-and-covid-19/.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Missouri Department of Labor

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s) Division of Employment Security (DES) started to issue the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments this week. The state notes that they dispersed a total of $66 million in benefits paid out to over 115,000 individuals. Eligible individuals should receive their benefits within the next couple of days, but this will depend on how long the individuals’ banks hold funds.

As a reminder, the FPUC program provides those eligible for at least one dollar of benefits will receive an additional $600 payment per week. All individuals who are eligible for benefits will also be eligible for the additional $600 payment effective with the week beginning March 29, 2020. These payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week for the $600 payment will be the week of July 25, 2020. Additionally, the state advised that child support payments, existing non-fraud over payments, and taxes, for those that have elected to have taxes withheld, will reduce the additional $600 payment and regular benefits too. Any individuals with an existing fraud penalty will not eligible for additional benefits.

Additionally, the state provided an update about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This program provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment, including those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, self-employed, as well as individuals lacking sufficient work history. Self-employed individuals filing unemployment claims should indicate “none” when asked for states in which they have worked unless they have worked for another employer in the last 18 months. The state will contact individuals who have been determined to be ineligible for regular unemployment benefits because of insufficient wages after the PUA program is fully operational. These individuals will be required to provide proof of earnings and proof of employment to file a claim for benefits. The state advised that acceptable forms of proof of earnings include copies of income tax returns with related Schedules C, E, F and SE, Form K-1 and/or Form 1099-Misc. Also, acceptable forms of proof of employment include business cards, advertisements, telephone listings, business licenses, etc. The PUA program will be retroactive to when an individual was negatively affected by COVID-19. The state expects to begin completing PUA claims as early as the week of April 19, 2020.

Finally, the state believes that it will also begin rolling out the provisions of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program starting the week of April 26, 2020. This program will provide up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those that have exhausted their regular benefits.  The state will notify all potentially eligible individuals once the program is operational. The DES encourages claimants who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, and still have an active benefit year, to continue to file weekly requests for payments.

The state urges individuals to file for benefits via UInteract: https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov. UInteract is available 24/7 and is mobile-friendly. Individuals should log into their UInteract account to check on the status of their claims. Please be aware that those who file should provide as accurate information as possible and avoid typos, wrong dates, or other errors that will cause a delay in processing their claims for benefits. The state also recommends that individuals review unemployment information on their website at https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. This website includes how-to videos and answers to commonly asked questions.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & Jobs in Minnesota

The CARES Act:

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that they received final guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) to be one of the first states to make $600 additional compensation payments available to individuals receiving unemployment benefits. All individuals who are currently receiving benefits will qualify for the $600 additional and will continue to receive their regular benefits as well.  Please be aware of the following details regarding the $600 payments:

  • The first week for the additional $600 is the week beginning March 29, 2020.
  • The week of March 29 on or after April 5 can be requested for the additional $600 payment. If it was already requested for that week, the $600 payment will be automatically issued.
  • There is no need to contact DEED or do anything to receive the additional $600. DEED will automatically process the additional $600 payment after the request benefits for the week of March 29 (and every week after that an individual is eligible).
  • The additional $600 payment will not appear on the online unemployment account. The additional $600 payment will only appear on a bank account or unemployment debit card statement.
  • All payments may take a few days to reach a bank account and/or debit card.

Minnesota Jobs:

Many businesses that provide essential services (like health care, food, supplies and transportation) are currently hiring employees. Some open jobs may be temporary during COVID-19, but many may be permanent and, particularly in the healthcare industry, can serve as an entry position to higher-paying careers.

If needed, CareerForce can help with job searches. CareerForce offers virtual and interactive services, including virtual workshops, videos, and other online resources.  Individuals can connect by phone or email with staff at their nearest CareerForce location and receive personalized assistance with interviewing, resume writing, and other job search resources. To search and find current Minnesota job postings, visit the CareerForce job search page: https://www.careerforcemn.com/job-search.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (II)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that they will take multiple actions assist with individuals’ ability to access their reemployment assistance program. The DEO experienced a historic increase in applications for reemployment assistance as a result of COVID-19. As a result, Florida’s governor signed Executive Order 20-93, which directed the DEO and other executive agencies to take any necessary actions to improve the state’s reemployment assistance program.

Ways to Apply for Reemployment Assistance:

The DEO announced a new, mobile-friendly online application for reemployment assistance. This application can be found at https://www.floridajobs.org/raapplication.

To use the online application or to download the paper application, please visit https://www.floridajobs.org/covid-19. If an individual chooses to submit a paper application, they should mail their application to DEO and a DEO representative will call them when their application has been processed.

The below steps should be completed to submit applications to the DEO.

  1. Collect all information needed:
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or state ID number
  • Employment information for the last 18 months for each employer
  • Employer ID – FEIN number (this is found on a W2 or 1099 tax form) if available
  • Employer name (name on pay stub), address, and phone number
  • First and last day of work
  • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) covering the last 18 months
  • Reason for separation
  • Not a U.S. Citizen: Alien Registration Number or other work authorization form
  • Military employee: Copy of DD-214 Member 4; if he Member 4 is not available, then a copy of the Member 2-7 may be used
  • Federal employee: SF-8 or SF-50
  • Union member: Union name, hall number, and phone number
  1. Submit an application:

https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/_BGRCJ61RMi9WpwTGi-X9?domain=floridajobs.org

  • Paper applications can be mailed to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

P.O. Box 5350

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

CareerSource locations will assist with completing and submitting online applications. CareerSource can also provide paper applications to those without computer or internet access. Please visit CareerSource’s website for location: https://careersourceflorida.com.

FedEx will provide the option to print and mail applications at locations free of charge. Please visit FedEx’s website to find participating locations:  https://local.fedex.com/en-us/fl/.

  1. Receive application confirmation
  • A representative will contact individuals after their applications have been processed.
  • A written determination will be sent electronically and/or by mail to explain monetarily eligibility and what the weekly benefit amount will be, if applicable.

Waived Eligibility Requirements:

Moreover, Florida’s governor waived the following reemployment assistance requirements:

  • The waiting week has been waived to allow individuals to claim their first week of reemployment assistance.
  • The work search and work registration requirements have been waived so individuals are not required to register in Employ Florida or submit work searches on a biweekly basis.

 

Improved Technology:

The DEO enhanced CONNECT, their online application system for reemployment assistance. For instance, the DEO installed 72 new servers to increase CONNECT’s capacity. With these new servers, CONNECT can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connection. The DEO advised that they will add an additional 10 server to CONNECT within the week.

Customer Support:

As of last week, the DEO had nearly 200 associates working on the claims process. More than 500 associates will provide support to the claims process effective April 7, 2020. The DEO expects that this number will more than double by the end of next week.

Also, the Florida Department of Revenue provided an additional 579 associates to help process reemployment assistance applications. More than 2,300 state associates volunteered to be available to answer calls, reply to emails, and process applications as well.

CARES Act Reminder:

The DEO is working to integrate the CARES Act and its provisions of the CARES Act. The DEO will advise about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUA) integration as soon as information becomes available.

DEO Information:

Information about reemployment assistance benefits and other helpful information can be found here: https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/65cRCzpAoDtW7OqsXoT76?domain=floridajobs.org.

A short, helpful video about the DEO’s reemployment assistance application process can be found here: https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/65cRCzpAoDtW7OqsXoT76?domain=floridajobs.org.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & Reimbursing Employers

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued UI PL 15-20 to help states enact the CARES Act at the state level. This act affords a temporary, emergency increase in unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, which is also known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The FPUC program grants eligible individuals with $600 per week, in addition to the benefit amount they receive from certain other UC programs. Please be aware that the additional $600 in FPUC benefit payments to eligible individuals each week is fully funded by the federal government.  States will not charge employers for any FPUC benefits paid. Moreover, states and the DOL must enter into a voluntary agreement to administer FPUC program benefits to individuals. Any state implementation costs, or even ongoing administrative costs, for this program are also fully funded by the federal government.

However, the definition of “employer” is not provided in the UI PL. As a result, this leaves the states to question if the FPUC program non-charging also applies to reimbursing employers. In Section 2103 of the CARES Act, the Secretary of Labor has the authority to issue any instructive guidance with respect to “maximum flexibility to reimbursing employers as it relates to timely payment and assessment of penalties and interest pursuant to such State laws.” The DOL advises that this language “could be interpreted to mean that reimbursing employers are to be charged, although states may be flexible in assessment of penalties and interest on reimbursement amounts that may be due but not paid timely.”

Please review Section 2103 of the CARES Act below.

SEC. 2103. EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF FOR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.

(a) FLEXIBILITY IN PAYING REIMBURSEMENT.—The Secretary of Labor may issue clarifying guidance to allow States to interpret their State unemployment compensation laws in a manner that would provide maximum flexibility to reimbursing employers as it relates to timely payment and assessment of penalties and interest pursuant to such State laws.

(b) FEDERAL FUNDING.—Section 903 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1103) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘Transfers for Federal Reimbursement of State Unemployment Funds ‘‘

(i)(1)(A) In addition to any other amounts, the Secretary of Labor shall provide for the transfer of funds during the applicable period to the accounts of the States in the Unemployment Trust Fund, by transfer from amounts reserved for that purpose in the Federal unemployment account, in accordance with the succeeding provisions of this subsection.

(B) The amount of funds transferred to the account of a State under subparagraph (A) during the applicable period shall, as determined by the Secretary of Labor, be equal to one-half of the amounts of compensation (as defined in section 3306(h) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) attributable under the State law to service to which section 3309(a)(1) of such Code applies that were paid by the State for weeks of unemployment beginning and ending during such period. Such transfers shall be made at such times as the Secretary of Labor considers appropriate.

(C) Notwithstanding any other law, funds transferred to the account of a State under subparagraph (A) shall be used exclusively to reimburse governmental entities and other organizations described in section 3309(a)(2) of such Code for amounts paid (in lieu of contributions) into the State unemployment fund pursuant to such section.

(D) For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘applicable period’ means the period beginning on March 13, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer from the general fund of the Treasury (from funds not otherwise appropriated) to the Federal unemployment account such sums as the Secretary of Labor estimates to be necessary for purposes of making the transfers described in paragraph (1).

(B) There are appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury, without fiscal year limitation, the sums referred to in subparagraph (A) and such sums shall not be required to be repaid.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & “Non-UI” COVID-19 Stimulus Unemployment

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued UI PL 16-20 to deliver operating, financial, and reporting instructions regarding the CARES Act. Employers can review the DOL’s instruction at the following website: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_16-20.pdf.

The CARES Act helps alleviate the economic effects of COVID-19 with the following provisions: temporary benefits for individuals who exhausted their entitlement to regular unemployment benefits and for individuals who are not eligible for regular UC (such as those who are self-employed or who have limited recent work history).

However, the CARES Act will challenge states to make proper determinations in a timely fashion. The DOL advises that the states’ systems that are normally used for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) claims may be impacted by the volume of new claims being filed as a result of COVID-19. Also, the DOL expects that the states will need new programming and training to accommodate the CARES Act, especially since the act will allow for states to accept claims that may be filed for weeks retroactively going back to weeks before or after January 27, 2020. Finally, the DOL says that if states require individuals to first apply for regular unemployment benefits, the volume of new applications (many of which will be denied) will negatively impact the regular unemployment claims.

Please see snippets of the CARES Act below:

  • Provides benefits for weeks of unemployment going back to the weeks before or after January 27, 2020.
  • Provides unemployment benefits to individuals who are otherwise not eligible under state law, federal law, or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation. These individuals include those that are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, lacking sufficient work history, exhausted prior benefits, and/or do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are able to work and available for work within applicable state unemployment law. However, these individuals are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons identified in Section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act and listed below and are determined not eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits:
  1. The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  2. A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  3. The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  4. A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
  5. The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  6. The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  7. The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  8. The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
  9. The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19; or
  10. The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 Please be aware that the reasons listed above could result in an individual qualifying for unemployment benefits. The unprecedented claims volume puts a heavy burden on the states deciding to whether to accept individuals’ claims based solely on their statements as to why they were separated, especially since these statements cannot be easily and quickly verified. As a result, the DOL advises that states may be at risk of paying benefits with a higher occurrence of fraud, overpayment, or delayed payment in order to meet due process standards. The states may be required to verify that the information presented by individuals is not truthful or accurate.

Additionally, the PUA Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) is equal to the WBA authorized under state unemployment law where the individual was employed.  In no case will the amount be less than the minimum WBA. The DOL predicts that it will be difficult and time consuming for states to determine applicable WBAs under the DUA regulations.

Finally, individuals will be eligible to receive PUA, as well as FPUC, for weeks of unemployment before or after March 27, 2020 and ending on or before July 31, 2020. FPUC allots individuals an additional $600 per week. Also, PUA benefits and their duration is typically limited to at least 39 weeks, excepting some circumstances.  The weeks for which an individual collected PEUC will not be taken from the individual’s PUA entitlement.

 Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.