Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is one of these programs

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is available to unemployed workers or unemployed self-employed individuals whom otherwise would not qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation benefits, Extended benefits or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.  In order to qualify for PUA, individuals must demonstrate you are able and available for work, within the meaning of applicable state law, except that you are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable for work as a direct result of COVID-19 reasons specified in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act.

The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits (minus any weeks you received from regular unemployment compensation and extended benefit program) and is available starting with weeks of unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020. 

General eligibility requirements

To be eligible for PUA you must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Your unemployment must have been caused by a COVID-19 related reason.
  • You must demonstrate you are able and available for work, within the meaning of applicable state law, except that you are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable for work as a direct result of COVID-19 reasons specified in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act.

Conditions of unemployment

One of the following conditions of unemployment must have occurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic to qualify for PUA:

  • No longer have a job and have a week of unemployment due to COVID-19 related reasons
  • Are unable to reach the place of employment or where services in self-employment are performed.
  • Were to have started work and do not have a job or unable to reach the job.
  • Became the breadwinner or major support because the head of household died.
  • Cannot work because of injury caused as a direct result of COVID-19.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, you cannot be paid PUA benefits based on services unless you were legally permitted to work in the United States at the time such services were performed. In addition, you must be authorized to work for any week of PUA benefits claimed to be eligible for PUA payments.

Filing Requirements

Submitting your PUA claim application does not mean your PUA claim has been filed.  JSND needs to review and manually file your claim.  This process does take time.  If additional information is needed, you will receive a letter or phone call requesting the missing or incomplete information. 

The best way for you to monitor your PUA claim progress is to review your correspondence page on your UIICE account.

Once your claim has been filed, you will receive a PUA Monetary Determination that contains your weekly benefit amount

We strongly encourage you to sign up for electronic reminders and alerts to ensure you do not miss any requests for information, notifications, and tasks to complete in order to receive benefit payments.  You can sign up for electronic reminders / alerts by logging into your UIICE account.

Submit Your PUA Claim Below

When filing a PUA claim application, you must submit all required PUA claim application forms and submit proof of employment and earnings.

Certifications

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Certifications
Certification and reporting requirements

In order to receive PUA benefit payments you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be returning to your employer or completing all eligibility requirements assigned by Job Service North Dakota for each week you certify for benefits

  • You must demonstrate you are able and available for work, within the meaning of applicable state law, except that you are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable for work as a direct result of COVID-19 reasons specified in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act.

We strongly encourage you to sign up for electronic reminders and alerts to ensure you do not miss any requests for information, notifications, and tasks to complete in order to receive benefit payments.  You can sign up for electronic reminders / alerts by logging into your UIICE account.

Complete weekly certifications to receive benefits
  • Once your claim has been filed, you will receive a PUA Monetary Determination that contains your weekly benefit amount

  • The action of filing your PUA claim by itself does not start payments.  You must file a weekly certification for each week you want to receive payment from the PUA program.

  • Weeks for unemployment purposes begin on Sunday and end on the following Saturday.   The earliest you can file for a week of unemployment is on Sunday for the prior week that ended on Saturday.

  • You have a maximum 13 days after the Saturday of the week you wish to receive benefits to complete your certification. Failure to certify within the 13-day period may result in your being ineligible for benefits for the week. Please refer to the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Guide for additional instructions regarding certifying a week for benefit payment.

    • There are two ways to file your weekly certification for PUA benefits

      1. Click the UIICE logo on jobsnd.com

      2. Voice response telephone by calling (701) 328-4995

You must report gross wages earned for any employment. If you worked for someone and were paid, or if you are entitled to payment for the work, you must report the wages in the week earned. If you are self- employed and received income for services performed, you must report your gross income in the week in which you receive the pay even though you may have performed the service before the disaster began.

In addition to wages and self-employment income, you must also report any income received from the following:

  • Benefits or insurance for loss of wages.

  • Supplemental unemployment benefits paid pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

  • Private income protection insurance, Workforce Safety and Insurance compensation or survivor's benefits if you become the major support of the family as a result of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster.

  • Retirement, pension or annuity.

Any wages, self-employment income, or other earnings listed above are to be reported on the weekly certification for the week the wages or self-employment income were earned.

You may continue to complete weekly certifications until you are no longer unemployed. You are no longer eligible for PUA benefits if you return to work or your reason for being unemployed is no longer a direct result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

If you receive PUA benefits and later it is determined that you were ineligible for these benefits, you will be required to repay any PUA benefits to which you were not entitled.

Benefits

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Benefits
Weekly benefit amount

Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) will be based on your gross wages. If you are self-employed, your WBA will be based on your net earnings (income) from self-employment. The WBA will be calculated using the same formula used for state unemployment insurance benefits. However, if you qualify for less than 50 percent of the state average unemployment insurance WBA, the WBA will be increased to 50 percent of the state's average WBA, with exceptions for part-time workers.

Duration of benefits

A PUA claimant's continued eligibility for benefits during the COVID-19 assistance period prescribed by law is determined on a week-to-week basis. For each week claimed, the claimant's unemployment must continue to be a direct result of COVID-19. PUA benefits will be paid for a set number of weeks.

Reduction of weekly PUA benefits

PUA benefits may be denied or reduced if you begin to receive or are receiving one or more of the following:

  • Benefits or insurance for loss of wages.

  • Supplemental unemployment benefits paid pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

  • Private income protection insurance.

  • Worker's compensation or survivor's benefits if you become the major support of the family as a result of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster.

  • Retirement, pension or annuity.

  • Earnings from employment or self-employment.

Federal withholding

PUA benefits are subject to federal withholding. You may elect to have federal withholding deducted from your pandemic unemployment assistance. You will receive a Form 1099-G to file with your income tax return.

Disqualification or termination of benefits

Disqualification or termination of PUA will be determined if any of the following apply:

  • You become employed and the earnings exceed the weekly benefit amount allowed under state law.

  • You refused without good cause to accept suitable work or a referral to suitable work without good cause.

  • You are not able or available for work under the applicable State law, unless injured as a direct result of COVID-19.

  • You are not available for work, unless the unavailability is due to a self-employed individual's preparation to resume self-employment.

  • You are no longer unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19. You fail to complete all eligibility requirements assigned by Job Service North Dakota.

Appeals

Any denial of PUA benefits may be appealed online through your UIICE account, by mail or fax, within 60 days after the Notice of Determination is mailed. Be sure to always include your identifying information on any and all correspondence you may send to Job Service North Dakota. If you file an appeal, you should continue to file your weekly claim certifications until the issue is resolved or you obtain or resume employment.

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Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to give accurate answers to any questions asked in regard to your initial claim and weekly certifications for PUA benefits. Failure to furnish requested documents or information might result in benefits being delayed or denied.

All information is subject to verification. PUA benefits are provided through federal funds. Criminal and/or civil penalties for violation of federal and/or state laws will be enforced for willfully making false statement or concealing information to obtain or increase your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.