Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Created under the CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expands unemployment benefits to individuals who are not otherwise eligible and increases weekly benefits.
PUA benefits are available for weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The program provides benefits ranging from $117 to $240 per week.
Expanded benefits include:
- UI benefits available for freelancers and self-employed individuals
- Benefits extended for an additional 13 weeks for individuals who exhaust their unemployment benefits.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
On August 8, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to extend the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUA) with an $300 a week in addition to the state’s unemployment benefits. With the $300 in PUA benefits, Arizonans are eligible to receive unemployment benefits of up to $540 a week. Payments will be retroactively for each week after July 26 where additional federal payments lapsed.
- are determined to be monetarily ineligible
- have exhausted all rights to such benefits,
- are self-employed,
- are seeking part-time employment,
- lack sufficient work history, or
- otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law or PEUC.
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.