Federal unemployment benefits will be extended into first quarter of 2021
Utahns currently receiving unemployment benefits through federal programs funded by the CARES Act may be eligible for extended weeks of benefits. Previously slated for a December 26, 2020 end date, Congress has extended these federal unemployment programs through March 13, 2021.
The state of Utah currently administers two federal unemployment programs created under the CARES Act have been extended as follows:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Provides up to 39 weeks of federal unemployment benefits to individuals not otherwise eligible for state unemployment and who are unable to work due to COVID-19, including the self-employed and gig workers. This program has been extended to eligible individuals for up to 50 weeks or until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – Provides an additional 13 weeks of federal emergency unemployment benefits for individuals who remain unemployed after they have exhausted their state unemployment benefits. This program has been extended to eligible individuals for up to 24 weeks or until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
A third federal unemployment program will be reinstated as follows:
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – Provides a weekly stimulus unemployment benefit of $300 to eligible claimants for up to 11 weeks beginning with the week ending Jan. 2, 2021 (paid out the following week of Jan. 3-9, 2021) until the program expires on March 13, 2021.
“The extension of these temporary federal benefits, with the stimulus payment, will be a great help to those who remain unemployed during this difficult pandemic,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Our priority is to make these benefits available as soon as possible. However, prior to any payments being made, the U.S. Department of Labor must first provide states with guidance and the state must make any operational changes to properly administer these programs.”
If a person has filed for or is receiving unemployment benefits, there is no additional action needed to apply for these extended benefits or to receive the $300 stimulus payment beyond filing their weekly claims. The benefits will be automatically applied to eligible individuals and included as part of their unemployment benefit payments moving forward.
Additional information and resources are available at jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for individuals navigating this process. The department asks that individuals continue to apply online and file their weekly claim. If there is an issue or any question about their claim, Workforce Services will contact them, there is no need for them to contact the department.
Claimants are encouraged to continue searching for work, so they can secure employment before their time-limited benefits end. Once a claimant exhausts their benefits, they are not eligible for any other unemployment program. However, applications for other safety net programs, such as food, medical, rent and energy assistance, are available at jobs.utah.gov.
If an individual’s employment has been impacted by COVID-19, they should visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for updated information including help for employees and employers returning to work.