Extended Unemployment Benefits Guide

If your unemployment benefits have been exhausted, run out, or expired, you could qualify for extended unemployment benefits. Included in the CARES act by Congress, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, is additional Unemployment Insurance assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19.

In this post, we are going to detail the various extra unemployment benefit programs that are available to those who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, we will provide how much extra benefits you could receive, how long those extra benefits will last, and how to apply.

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This post will cover:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
  • Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

Here are the various federal government programs available to help those who have been impacted by COVID-19, including people who were traditionally not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Most states pay unemployment benefits for 26 weeks (a few pay for only 20 weeks and a few pay for up to 30 weeks).

PEUC is a temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted their regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

PEUC Eligibility

To be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, you must be:

  • At least partially unemployed,
  • Able and available for suitable work,
  • Not disqualified for voluntarily leaving work, and
  • Not discharged for willful misconduct.
  • You must report all work performed and gross wages earned during weeks claimed.

PEUC Payments

Payment Amount: Same as the individual’s regular Unemployment benefit payment.

Duration of PEUC Benefits (additional 13 weeks)

First Payable Week: Retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020 (or the first week after an individual exhaust their regular state unemployment benefits, whichever is later).

Last Payable Week: Week Ending December 26, 2020.

PEUC Application Process

You must wait for your regular unemployment benefits to expire before applying for PEUC.

Individuals who are currently receiving regular unemployment benefits do NOT need to apply.

You must apply with your state’s unemployment agency.

Click here to contact the unemployment agency in your state to apply for PEUC.

Extended Benefits (EB)

Extended Benefits (EB) will allow up to an additional 16 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.

This is after a claimant has exhausted both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits of 13 weeks.

EB Eligibility

Extended Benefits are payable only after exhaustion of PEUC and other unemployment insurance benefits as explained below.

During the period that PEUC is available, an individual must have exhausted PEUC entitlement before becoming eligible to receive EB.

To qualify for EB, the individual must have:

  • Exhausted all rights to regular UI under state law;
  • No rights to regular UI with respect to any UI law of another state or Canada;
    Exhausted PEUC;
  • Wages in the base period must meet specific rules. Contact your state’s unemployment agency for details.
  • No disqualifications that would prevent the individual from being eligible for EB; and
  • At least one week in the benefit year that begins in an EB eligibility period

Not everyone who qualified for regular benefits or PEUC benefits qualifies for Extended Benefits. You may be found ineligible to receive EB:

  • If you were previously discharged/fired from your job due to misconduct or cause, you may have to return to work and earn a specific amount prior to being eligible to receive EB.
  • If you did not exhaust your regular UI benefits prior to the Extended Benefits period, you may not be eligible for Extended Benefits.

EB Payments

  • Payment Amount: The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as you received for regular unemployment compensation or through the PEUC program.
  • Duration of Extended Benefits: Up to 16 weeks.

EB Application Process

If you are eligible to apply for EB benefits, you must apply with your state’s unemployment agency.

Click here to contact the unemployment agency in your state to apply for PEUC.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA is a new temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) such as:

  • Individuals who are self-employed.
  • Certain independent contractors.
  • Individuals with limited recent work history.
  • Other workers not covered by Regular UI.

PUA Eligibility

To be eligible for PUA, your reason for no longer working must fall within one of the COVID-19 Scenarios.

Here is an example of what COVID-19 Scenarios apply – from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, which should give you a general idea of what to expect from your stat.

PUA Payments

Payment Amount:

  • Minimum weekly benefit amount: $163.
  • Maximum weekly benefit amount: $370.

Benefit Amount:

1% of 2019 net income; subject to PUA minimum and maximum.

  • Duration of PUA Benefits (up to 39 weeks):
  • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending February 8, 2020 (or the first week an individual is out of work due to COVID-19, whichever is later).
  • Last Payable Week: Week ending December 26, 2020.

How to Apply for PUA

You will not be able to file weekly claims for PUA until your eligibility has been determined.

If you qualify, your determination will provide further directions on how to file your weekly claims.

If you are eligible for weeks that have already passed, you will be able to file for those at that time as well.

Click here to contact the unemployment agency in your state for more information on the PUA program.

Reporting Wages

When you certify for benefits, report your gross (total) earnings.

How you report your income is different for 1099 wages (self-employment income) and W-2 wages:

1099 wages

If you are a self-employed worker, independent contractor, or business owner, report your income in the weeks you actually received payment, no matter when you performed the service.

If you performed services but didn’t receive income that week, then you do not need to report any income for that week.

W-2 wages

If you are not self-employed, report your income for the week you worked, not when you were paid.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

As part of legislation passed by Congress to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic (CARES Act), all states are currently able to provide extended benefits.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is a temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits.

The FPUC program provides an additional payment to individuals who are collecting benefits from ANY of the following programs:

  • Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), including:
    Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
    Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Work-Share (STC)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)

FPUC Payments Information

Payment Amount:

  • $600 per week.
  • Automatically added to benefit payments.

Duration of Benefits:

  • First Payable Week: Varies by state but generally retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020.
  • Last Payable Week: Varies by state by usually the last week of July 2020.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is a federal program that provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

This new LWA payment is in addition to Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments currently available to unemployed workers.

Claimants do not need to file a separate application to receive LWA.

Funding for this program comes from FEMA disaster relief funds and will end when the federal program exhausts its grant funding or Congress enacts legislation for a supplemental federal UI program.

FEMA has allotted a three-week allocation per state, with additional weeks determined on a weekly basis thereafter.

LWA Eligibility

To be eligible to receive the weekly $300 LWA funds, you must:

Be eligible for a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 for one of the following unemployment programs during the week in which you are seeking LWA funds:

  • State Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).

Certify that you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As stipulated by the President’s memorandum, claimants eligible to receive less than $100 per week in state or federal unemployment benefits will not be eligible to receive LWA funds and will only receive their weekly benefit amount for that week.

Additionally, you will not receive the LWA payment if you earn excessive wages for a claim week that results in you not receiving at least $1 of underlying state or federal unemployment benefits.

LWA Payments

Payment Amount:

  • Additional $300 per week.

Duration of LWA Benefits:

  • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending August 1, 2020.
  • Last Payable Week: To Be Determined. FEMA has allotted a three-week allocation per state, with additional weeks determined on a weekly basis thereafter.

Extended Unemployment Benefits Summary

We hope this post on Extended Unemployment Benefits was helpful.

If you have further questions about Unemployment Benefits, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Unemployment Benefits, including Monthly Unemployment Rates for all 50 States, Whether Unemployment Benefits are Taxable and List of States Extending Unemployment Benefits.