Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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CARES Act Benefits and Implementation 

CARES Act Benefits and Implementation

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 provides unemployment benefits for the self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, gig economy workers, those who have exhausted other unemployment insurance benefits, and those who may not have sufficient work history to qualify for a regular state claim.  

The CARES Act also includes eligibility for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits in any amount to be paid an additional $600 weekly benefit.

After receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, DLR has begun aligning resources and technology to create the necessary processes to be able to pay qualified individuals their benefits as quickly as possible. Payments will be issued as soon as administratively feasible and will be paid retroactively to eligible individuals.

The CARES Act provides the following unemployment insurance benefit programs (click on links to go to program): 

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Now taking claims and documentation. See below.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Now taking claims.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Under FPUC, eligible individuals will receive an additional $600 per week in addition to their weekly benefit amount from another unemployment compensation program. Claimants do not need to request the FPUC payment.

This FPUC payment is 100% federally funded. An employer’s experience rating account will not be charged or impacted by this additional payment.

FPUC is payable concurrently to the following:

  • Individuals who are collecting regular Unemployment Compensation (UC)
  • Individuals receiving unemployment compensation pursuant to the following programs:
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • Trade Readjustment Act (TRA)
    • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

DLR began issuing this benefit the week beginning March 29, 2020, which is the first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit; the last week is the week ending July 25, 2020. Claimants do not need to separately request the FPUC payment but should continue to file a regular weekly request for payment. The additional $600 weekly payment will be paid with the regular weekly payment via the method selected by the claimant.

Please keep in mind you cannot quit your job and continue to draw these benefits. If you refuse to return to work without a documented medical note consistent with the Families First Act, you will be disqualified from ALL benefits including the $600 payment.

Additionally, if your employer receives a loan under the PayCheck Protection Act and places you back on the payroll, full time, you will no longer be eligible for unemployment or FPUC benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Documents Needed | Coverage (Examples) | Compensation

PUA claims and documents are now being taken.

This program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees and gig economy workers, as well as to individuals working part-time, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular UC or EB under state or federal law or PEUC.  

Claims can be backdated if the individual meets the eligibility requirements under PUA.


Documents Needed:

You will need to provide proof of wages when you submit your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application. This can be done by attaching any of the following documents.

Proof of earnings can be shown with the submission any of the following documents.
If you worked in 2019, please provide at least one of the following:

  • 2019 Federal Tax Return (preferable)
  • 2019 1099 - Miscellaneous Income Only
  • 2019 W-2
  • Final pay stub in 2019

Note: If you're unable to provide proof of your 2019 wages, you will only be allowed the minimum PUA benefit payment of $172. If and when you provide your proof of earnings for 2019, your claim will be redetermined. If it results in a higher amount, adjusted payments will be issued to you.

Coverage under PUA (with Examples)

To be covered under PUA, individuals must also self-certify they are otherwise able to work and available to work under state law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work due to at least one of the following reasons. View examples and explanations below (this list is not exhaustive and other qualifying circumstances may apply):

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
    • An individual who has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19 because the individual has tested positive for the coronavirus or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and continuing work activities, such as through telework, is not possible by virtue of such diagnosis or condition;
    • An individual who has to quit his or her job due to coming in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus or has been diagnosed by a medical professional as having COVID-19, and, on the advice of a qualified medical health professional is required to resign from his or her position in order to quarantine
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional or a member of the individual’s household has tested positive for COVID-19 and the individual is unable to work as a result.
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • An individual is “providing care” for a family member or a member of the individual’s household if the provision of care requires such ongoing and constant attention that the individual’s ability to perform other work functions is severely limited. An individual who is assisting a family member who is able to adequately care for him or herself is not “providing care” under this category.
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
    • An individual has “primary caregiving responsibility” for a child or other person in the household if he or she is required to remain at home to care for the child or other person.
    • This includes an individual whose job allows for telework, but for whom the provision of care to the child or other person with a closed school or other facility requires such ongoing and constant attention that it is not possible for the individual to perform work at home.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
    • An individual who is unable to reach his or her place of employment because doing so would require the violation of a state or municipal order restricting travel that was instituted to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
    • An individual who has been advised by a qualified medical professional that he or she may be infected with the coronavirus and that he or she therefore should self-quarantine. For example, an individual had direct contact with another person who has tested positive for the coronavirus or been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional and is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine to prevent further possible spread of the virus. Such circumstances would render the individual unable to reach his or her place of employment.
    • An individual whose immune system is compromised by virtue of a serious health condition and is therefore advised by a health care provider to self quarantine in order to avoid the greater-than-average health risks that the individual might face if he or she were to become infected by the coronavirus.
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
    • An individual is unable to reach his or her job because doing so would require the violation of a state or municipal order restricting travel that was instituted to combat the spread of the coronavirus or the employer has closed the place of employment.
    • An individual does not have a job because the employer with whom the individual was scheduled to commence employment has rescinded the job offer as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • An individual whose head of household previously contributed the majority of financial support to the household died as a direct result of COVID-19, and the individual is now the person in the household expected to provide such financial support.
  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • An individual was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and although the individual no longer has COVID-19, the illness caused health complications that render the individual objectively unable to perform his or her essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
    • If a business is shut down due to an emergency declaration or due to necessary social distancing protocols, the unemployment of individuals who worked in the business would be considered a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance.
    • The Secretary of the US DOL has determined that, in addition to individuals who qualify for benefits under the other criteria described above, an individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income may also qualify for PUA benefits if he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities.
      • For example, a driver for a ridesharing service who receives an IRS Form 1099 from the ride sharing service may not be eligible for PUA benefits under the other criteria outlined above, because such an individual does not have a “place of employment,” and thus cannot claim that he or she is unable to work because his or her place of employment has closed. However, under the additional eligibility criterion established by the Secretary here, the driver may still qualify for PUA benefits if he or she has been forced to suspend operations as a direct result of the COVID19 public health emergency, such as if an emergency state or municipal order restricting movement makes continued operations unsustainable.

It is important to remember that many of the above listed reasons may only last for a short duration. For example, a person who is ordered to self-quarantine due to exposure may be able to return to work within 2 weeks. Also, once a school year has ended, it is no longer closed due to COVID-19.

Also, for purposes of PUA, an individual does not have to quit his or her job as a result of COVID-19 if paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits are available to the individual. “Has to quit” under PUA means ceasing employment is an involuntary decision compelled by the identified circumstances.

The fundamental requirements of regular unemployment compensation still apply: (1) individuals are only entitled to benefits if they are no longer working through no fault of their own, and (2) they are able and available to work. 

Compensation

PUA benefits are 100% federally funded. Implementation costs and ongoing administrative costs for PUA are 100% federally funded.

A claimant can be compensated with this benefit beginning Feb. 2, 2020, or the first week a claimant was unable to work as a result of COVID-19, whichever date is later. The last week this benefit is payable is the week ending Dec. 26, 2020.

Our goal is to issue payments to those who are eligible as soon as administratively feasible. This benefit also applies to anyone who has exhausted all unemployment insurance payment options at the state or federal level, including the PEUC program.  

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

PEUC claims are now being taken. See instructions.

In short, the PEUC program provides eligible individuals with up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment compensation (UC) entitlement.

The first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last payable week is the week ending Dec. 26, 2020. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The PPP provides a loan to businesses with fewer than 500 employees to keep their workers on the payroll. The Small Business Administration will forgive these loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the loan is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Employees of businesses that take advantage of the PPP who are recalled to work (or are being paid full-time pay and benefits) are not eligible for unemployment benefits, and if they have a current claim, they should update their claim appropriately to reflect the day they were no longer eligible for unemployment benefits.

For more information on the PPP see www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp

Important Note

None of the benefits described above, nor unemployment benefits of any kind, are available to employees who quit their job, refuse to return to work or refuse to receive full-time pay. Attempts to collect payments after quitting a job could be viewed as fraudulent and will be further investigated.

The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid.