Some things claimants should immediately note:
- benefits for PEUC and PUA programs are extended an additional 11 weeks to March 14th
- an additional $300 PUC is added for anyone receiving PEUC, PUA, EB, or regular unemployment benefits during these additional weeks,
- anyone who has not exhausted PEUC benefits (now 24 weeks in toto) or PUA benefits (now 50 weeks in toto) can continue to receive those benefits after March 14th to the week of 5 April 2021,
- waivers for over-payment of PUA benefits are now available (previously, over-payments of PUA benefits were not legally available for claimants caught between regular unemployment and PUA),
- waivers of LWA over-payments are also now available,
- claimants can file new PUA claims for job losses after 1 December 2020,
- claimants with new PUA claims after 31 Jan. 2021 must now submit wage records verifying unemployment within 21 days, and
- all other PUA claimants must submit wage records verifying their unemployment within 90 days of 31 January 2021 (i.e., Thursday, 1 May 2021).
Employers should note as well:
- reimbursable non-profit employers will continue to receive the 50% subsidy through 14 March 2021, and
- 100% federal support for work-sharing arrangements will continue.
For state unemployment agencies, waiver of any interest on federal loans to cover payment of regular unemployment benefits continue (not an issue in Wisconsin, as the unemployment trust fund was $1.2 billion as of Nov. 10th). But, federal funding for waiting week benefits is halved to 50%.
Update (28 Dec. 2020): The current president waited several days to sign this bill — until December 27th — and so both PUA and PEUC benefits were slated to expire on December 26th. That delay could mean that there will be a week gap in coverage, including the new $300 PUC that is part of these extended unemployment benefits.
According to Evermore, the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration, which administers federal aid to state unemployment programs, could modify their existing state contracts instead of writing new ones altogether, thus avoiding the lapse.
“It looks like it may be possible that states could, instead of drafting new agreements with states, they could just modify their old agreements,” Evermore said.
In essence, they could backdate their agreements to keep the funds from lapsing. But Evermore warned that the workaround may not pass legal muster, and whether states could proceed remained an open question.
One state unemployment office confirmed to The Hill that they were working on the effort. The Hill has reached out to the Labor Department for comment.
If the workaround is approved, it could potentially prevent the trimming of another benefit that provides $300 in additional unemployment insurance to the roughly 20 million people receiving them.