Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Created under the CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expands weekly benefits and opens benefits to individuals who are not otherwise eligible, including gig workers and self-employed individuals.
The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law March 11, 2021, extending PUA benefits.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
PUA benefits are available for the weeks of unemployment from February 2, 2020 to September 6, 2021 with a maximum of 79 weeks per person. The program provides benefits of $300 per week in addition to the state’s unemployment insurance compensation benefits.
The first $10,200 in 2020 unemployment benefits are exempt from federal income tax for households with less than $150,000 a year.
Pandemic Unemployment Unemployment Compensation
PUEC provides a total of 53 weeks of benefits. Workers may receive PEUC benefits through September 6, 2021 if they exhaust state unemployment benefits.
Expanded State Benefits
Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona expanded access to unemployment benefits by waiving certain Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) eligibility requirements.
In addition, the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits after an employee loses a job has been waived.
Unemployment benefit eligibility has been expended in the following situations:
- Individuals whose employer has permanently or temporarily ceased or drastically reduced operations due to COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of wages
- Individuals who are quarantined and must therefore separate from employment
- Individuals who leave employment due to a risk of exposure or infection and are a member of a population that is particularly susceptible to COVID-19;
- Individuals who leave employment to care for a family member who has been infected with COVID-19
Regardless of the status of the initial application, and regardless of the reasons why the individual is eligible for Unemployment Insurance, all Unemployment Insurance claimants must file weekly claims to continue to receive benefits. Even if their initial claim is still pending, Unemployment Insurance claimants must file a weekly claim to receive benefits for that week.