Pandemic Unemployment Assistance


Important Update: As of September 5, 2021, several federal unemployment benefit programs, including PUA, PEUC, EB, and FPUC, have expired, per federal law. For more information, visit

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was a federal program included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program provided support for Americans who were unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but did not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI).


Claimants qualified for PUA if one of the following applied to them:

  • Self-employed;
  • Independent contractor;
  • Worked for an app-based company (i.e. “gig worker”);
  • Farmer;
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 or had COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;
  • Lived with a household member who had been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Provided care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19;
  • Unable to reach place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or were advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • Scheduled to commence new employment but cannot reach the workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Became a major breadwinner because the head of the household died from COVID-19;
  • Quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Had insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19;
  • Otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19

Claimants were not eligible for PUA if they could telework, or if they were receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).


In addition to their weekly benefits, claimants received a weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit: $600 per week for benefit weeks ending 4/5/2020 to 7/26/2020 and $300 per week for benefit weeks ending 1/3/2021 to 9/5/2021.