Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
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Overview

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

Through the CARES Act, if you qualify for PUA, you will also be eligible to receive:

  • Up to 39 weeks of PUA benefits.
  • An additional $600/week until 7/31/2020.

The best way to apply is online. DOL has a streamlined application that allows you to apply for either traditional UI or PUA, depending on their eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA. 

 

Eligibility

You should apply if you are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and any of the following apply to you:

  • Self-employed;
  • Independent contractor;
  • Work for an app-based company (i.e. “gig worker”);
  • Farmer;
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;
  • Living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Providing 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;
  • Have insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19;
  • Otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19

You will not be eligible for PUA if you can telework, or if you are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).

Check your eligibility for PUA:
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NOTE: If you have already applied for PUA: You can check the status of your claim online by logging into your NY.Gov account on the DOL website. If you see it is still pending, no action is required; we have added thousands of DOL representatives who are working seven days a week to process your claim as quickly as possible.

Payment

If you qualify for PUA, your benefit rate will be based on your recent earnings. You will also receive an additional $600 per week until 7/31/2020.

Estimate your weekly benefit amount with our benefit calculator.

When you apply for PUA, you will be asked if you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card.

If you apply over the phone, you will automatically receive your benefits via debit card unless you had a previous claim and you received them by direct deposit.

How To File

Sign in or create a NY.gov ID account and follow the instructions to file a claim. 

If you have never filed a claim for benefits in New York State, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential. This PIN will be used to access the system to certify for weekly benefits and update your account. 

Ready? Make sure you have with you:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
  • Your complete mailing address and zip code
  • A phone number where we can reach you from 8 am - 5 pm, Monday –Friday
  • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)
  • Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms)
  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee
  • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service

You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.

If you cannot print web pages, have a pen and paper to copy information.

If you choose direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you will need your bank routing and checking account numbers.

 

File

The best way to apply is online. DOL has a streamlined application that allows you to apply for either traditional UI or PUA, depending on your eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA.

File

  • The application will determine which program — UI or PUA — you should be applying for and then prompt you to answer program-specific questions
  • DOL will process your application and contact you if any additional information is needed

What's Next

After you apply for pandemic unemployment assistance, this is what you can expect: 

  • If you are eligible, your first payment will generally be made in two to three weeks from the time your claim is completed and processed. In some cases, we must get additional information before payment can be made and your first payment may take longer. We use this time to review and process your application for benefits. You will not receive benefits during this period. This is why you may see your claim status as “pending.”
  • In some cases, additional information must be obtained before payment can be made and your payment may take longer.
  • Any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.
  • You should certify for benefits for each week you remain unemployed as soon as you receive notification from the DOL to do so. See the Certify for Weekly Benefits section below.
  • You should respond to any questionnaires, messages, or phone calls from us as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will delay your claim or result in the denial or suspension of your benefits. PLEASE NOTE: Like many New Yorkers, DOL representatives are working from home, so your caller ID may show "PRIVATE CALLER.” Anyone calling from DOL will verify their identity by providing: (a) the date you filed your application; & (b) the type of claim. Once you have been verified, a representative may ask for your social security number.

Certify for Weekly Benefits

Once you have filed a claim for benefits, you must also claim weekly benefits for each week you are unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements. This is also called “certifying for benefits.” You can start certifying as soon as you receive a notification from the DOL. During this process, you are confirming that you were unemployed for all or part of the past week and that you met all other conditions of receiving benefits. You may certify online or by telephone. 

To certify online:

  1. Go to www.labor.ny.gov/signin.
  2. Enter your NY.gov username and password.
  3. Click the “Unemployment Services” button on the My Online Services page.
  4. Then click “Claim Weekly Benefits” and follow the instructions.

 

To certify by telephone, call 833-324-0366. PLEASE NOTE: this telephone number is ONLY for PUA recipients to use for weekly certifications.

Resources

NY State of Health
If you have lost your health insurance coverage or are uninsured, NY State of Health can help. You may be eligible for quality health insurance at little or no cost. Apply online http://www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/, connect with an application assistor info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/findassistor, or call 1-855-355-5777.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Do you need help paying for food? SNAP benefits can help you put healthy food on the table. Please visit http://www.mybenefits.ny.gov/ for more information and to apply.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children)
Are you pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding or have children under 5 and need help with healthy foods, breastfeeding or health care referrals? Visit www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/wic for more information and to apply.

Fact Sheets

Information about Pandemic Unemployment Insurance and how to apply for benefits.