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Your unemployment compensation benefits run out? Pa. has new program that will extend them

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Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced the launch of Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation.   

PEUC is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Pennsylvania has implemented all programs under the new CARES Act and paid out nearly $7.4 billion in total unemployment benefits since mid-March.  

Important information about the extended benefits program follows and has also been emailed or mailed via the U.S. Postal Service to all individuals who potentially qualify for PEUC.  

You are eligible for PEUC if you: 

• Are unemployed between March 29 through Dec. 26, 2020.

• Have exhausted your regular state or federal benefits with week ending July 6, 2019 or later.

• Are currently not eligible for state or federal unemployment benefits.

• Are able and available to work and actively seeking work, except for COVID-19-related reasons including illness, quarantine, or “stay at home” orders.

How to receive PEUC

• If you have an open UC claim but exhausted all of your benefits, the 13 additional weeks will automatically be added to your existing claim. Log in this week to file biweekly claims for prior weeks, back through the week ending April 4 (if applicable).

• If your benefit year has expired then you must submit an application online.

If you don’t have access to computers or the internet, you can have a loved one or friend print the paper application for you to complete and submit via mail. The department is also in the process of mailing paper copies of the application to individuals who might need it.

Biweekly claims and payments work the same way as for regular UC benefits. 

PEUC weekly benefit amount 

• Your PEUC weekly benefit amount is the same as your regular UC weekly benefit rate. 

• Your weekly benefit rate is based on your reported earnings during the base year (the first four of the last five completed quarters). You must also have over 18 credit weeks (weeks during which you earned $116 or more) in your base year to be eligible for UC. 

Extra $600 on PEUC 

• You will receive an additional $600 per week from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. Anyone collecting any type of UC, including PEUC, will receive the extra $600 per week in addition to your weekly benefits as calculated.

• FPUC payments began the week ending April 4 and will end July 25. These payments will be backdated for eligible individuals and paid in one lump sum.

• You will receive the extra $600 FPUC payments the week after your PEUC payments.  

Pennsylvania’s UC payments  

Since March 15, the department has made 15.7 million payments to claimants totaling nearly $7.9 billion in benefits.

• $4.8 billion from regular unemployment compensation.

• $2.85 billion from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (extra $600 per week).

• $290 million from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program since, May 7.

Regular unemployment compensation claim statistics are available here and the breakdown of that data by industry and county is here. PUA claim statistics are available here.