Source: thepennyhoarder.com
Initially, the CARES Act authorized PUA payments for a maximum of 39 weeks. The second stimulus package extended PUA to 50 weeks total — or 11 extra weeks.
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Note: This article has been updated to reflect the new programs and provisions in the second stimulus package.
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Our interactive map includes PUA filing instructions for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Depending on which gig app you use and how much you earned, you may not have received any 1099 income forms in the mail. In that case, log on to the app and download your income statements.

What Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

States marked in light blue have a PUA application separate from the regular Unemployment Insurance system. If you are a resident of one of these states, you can file for PUA directly so long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
PUA now sunsets on March 14, 2021, unless extended by Congress and the Biden administration. Those who haven’t exhausted their PUA benefits as of March 14, 2021, may continue receiving benefits until April 5, 2021.
To see if you need to file two applications or one streamlined version, click your state on the map for specific filing instructions.

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms and are seeking diagnosis.
  • A member of your household has COVID-19.
  • You are taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a child or other household member who can’t attend school or work because it is closed due to the pandemic.
  • You are quarantined by order of a doctor or health official.
  • You were scheduled to start employment and don’t have a job or can’t reach their workplace as a result of the pandemic.
  • You have become the breadwinner for a household because the head of household died due to COVID-19.
  • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
Pro Tip
The Penny Hoarder looked at the application process in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. when the program was first created. We compiled the information into an interactive map that shows you how to file in each state, then updated the information based on new provisions laid out in the second stimulus package.

Due to new rules outlined in the second stimulus package, state labor departments are once again scrambling. Hiccups should be expected while applying for, asking about or submitting documents related to PUA. Many gig workers and independent contractors warn of website crashes, unavailable customer service, confusing questionnaires and more.
Here’s a look at what’s included. (Click a link to jump to the section you need.)
All PUA recipients should be expecting to file more paperwork, too. To curb fraud, the second stimulus deal forces current and new PUA recipients to submit documents related to employment or self-employment, according to the DOL.

How the Second Stimulus Package Changes PUA

For the first time nationally, independent contractors and gig workers can receive unemployment benefits — through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Millions of Americans have relied on this program since it was created by the first stimulus package in March 2020.
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To determine PUA eligibility, most states funnel applicants through the Unemployment Insurance system first. Those states require you to file two applications: state unemployment first, then PUA.
This guide will explain everything you need to know about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The exact documents needed will be determined by your state agency, which is required to notify you. The deadline to file those documents is March 27, 2021. Defer to your state’s deadline if different.
Weekly PUA pays half of your state’s average unemployment payment. Average state payments range from roughly 0 to 0, meaning that you can expect PUA payments between and 0 weekly.
Weekly PUA pays half of your state’s average unemployment payment. Average state payments range from roughly 0 to 0, meaning that you can expect PUA payments between and 0 weekly.

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Weekly PUA pays half of your state’s average unemployment payment. Average state payments range from roughly 0 to 0, meaning that you can expect PUA payments between and 0 weekly.

Pro Tip
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was established by the .2 trillion federal stimulus package in March 2020 and was extended by the second stimulus package passed in December 2020.

Expect Delays

If you’re ready to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you’ll need to gather several types of identification- and income-related documents.
If you are approved for at least in unemployment benefits, you will also be eligible for a 0 weekly boost for up to 11 weeks and until March 14, 2021. This 0 boost is known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
Here’s how we broke it down on the map.
If you have already exhausted your state’s Unemployment Insurance benefits, you may receive additional benefits through PUA.
One new and notable limitation: PUA used to be available retroactively as far back as January 2020. The new stimulus law tightens the window for retroactive PUA payments to Dec. 1, 2020, through March 14, 2021.