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PUA Documentation

Overview

In March of 2020, the federal government created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (or PUA), a program that provided support for Americans who were unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic but did not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI). The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This Act requires that any individual who received PUA benefits on, or after December 27, 2020, is required to provide documentation proving that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had an attachment to the workforce. This attachment can be demonstrated by submitting documentation that proves employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment.

 

New Yorkers who reported they had existing or pending employment/self-employment that was affected by COVID-19 when they applied for PUA benefits will be contacted by the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) via email and/or letter. These individuals will be required to submit documentation proving their attachment to the workforce. Further information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Acceptable Documentation

The list below provides examples of the types of documents that would be acceptable to substantiate employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment. 

You must submit at least one form of documents from the sections below that best applies to you. This list is not comprehensive, and other records or documents may be used as proof.

Employment:

  • W2 Form - The W2 form must be for the year prior to the year you applied for PUA benefits. For example, if you applied for PUA benefits in March of 2020, your W2 must be for calendar year 2019.
  • Paycheck Stub - The paycheck stub(s) must be for the year prior to the year you applied for PUA benefits. For example, if you applied for PUA benefits in March 2020, your paycheck stub must be for calendar year 2019. If you choose to upload a paystub, you are not required to submit every paystub from the year. You can submit up to five paystubs.
  • Earnings and Leave Statement - The Earnings and Leave Statement(s) must be for the year prior to the year you applied for PUA benefits. For example, if you applied for PUA benefits in March 2020, your Earnings and Leave statement must be for Calendar Year 2019.
  • Other documentation demonstrating that you were paid by your employer for work performed, which may include 1099 forms issued to misclassified workers.

If you were employed by the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and educational/religious organizations, you may use the documents above to substantiate your employment or 

  • Documentation provided by these organizations (if you cannot provide any of the documents listed above. Please note, this documentation must include the organization’s name, address, and phone number. It must also indicate your employment relationship to such organization.
  • Signed affidavits from person(s) verifying your attachment to such organization - The affidavit must include the name and contact information for the person(s) verifying your employment.

 

Pending Employment:

If you were offered employment but were unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can submit the following documents to substantiate pending employment:

  • Letter Offering Employment - This letter must include the name of the employer who issued the letter offering employment, the employer’s address and phone number, and the date of the letter offering employment.
  • Statements or affidavits by individual(s) verifying the offer of employment - The affidavit must include the date of your pending employment, name, and contact information for the person(s) verifying your pending employment.

 

Self-Employment:

You are self-employed if you act as a sole proprietor or independent contractor, own an unincorporated business, are a member of a partnership, or are otherwise in business for yourself (including a part-time business).

Documents to substantiate self-employment:

  • Tax Return Form 1040 SE or Schedule C - Your Form 1040 SE or Schedule C must be for the year prior to year you applied for PUA benefits. For example, if you applied for PUA benefits in March 2020, your Form 1040 SE or Schedule C must be for calendar year 2019. You are not required to upload your entire tax return – please just submit Schedule SE (Form 1040) or Schedule C (Form 1040).
  • Copies of 1099 Form(s) - The 1099 Form must be for the year prior to year you applied for PUA benefits. For example, if you applied for PUA benefits in March 2020, your 1099 Form must be for calendar year 2019.
  • State or Federal Employer Identification Numbers
  • Business License
  • Business Receipts
  • Signed affidavits from person(s) verifying your self-employment - The affidavit must include the name and contact information for the person(s) verifying your pending self-employment.

 

Pending Self-Employment:

If you were planning to begin self-employment but were unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can submit the following documents to substantiate pending self-employment:

  • Business License
  • State or Federal Employer Identification Numbers
  • Written Business Plan(s) - The business plan(s) should include the name of your business and the date of the plan.
  • Lease Agreements
  • Other Documents

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) When must I provide my proof of employment, self-employment, or proof of the planned beginning of employment or self-employment?

A) New Yorkers who received PUA benefits must provide your proof of employment, self-employment, or proof of the planned beginning of employment or self-employment no later than 90 days from the time the Department of Labor notifies you to provide this documentation. Please note, you are still required to send in this documentation within 90 days even if you believe you previously provided this information.

 

Q) Why must I provide PUA documentation at this time?

A) The Continued Assistance Act requires that any individual who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits on or after December 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the Continued Assistance Act), is required to provide this documentation to substantiate attachment to the workforce.

If you fail to provide your documentation to substantiate your employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment prior to the COVID-19 pandemic within 90 days of the notice from NYS DOL, you will be issued an appealable determination. This determination will deem you ineligible for PUA benefits for the entire period of your claim. You will also be determined overpaid for any benefits paid to you on or after December 27, 2020 and you will be responsible for paying back this overpayment to NYS DOL.

 

Q) How will the Department of Labor notify me to provide this required documentation?

A) NYS DOL will notify you of the requirement to provide documentation via an email to the email address DOL has on file for you. The email will come from [email protected] DOL may also choose to notify you via U.S. Mail.

 

Q) How do I provide the necessary documentation to the Department of Labor to substantiate my employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment?

A) When NYS DOL notifies you via email, the message will provide a link for you to click that will bring you to a designated webpage for you to upload your documents with directions and additional information. Claimants who do not have NY.gov accounts will be issued a letter with instructions for how to fax or mail their documentation to NYS DOL.

 

Q) What happens if I do not provide my documentation to substantiate my employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment?

A) If you fail to provide your documentation to substantiate your employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment in the required timeframe, you will be issued an appealable determination. This determination will deem you ineligible for PUA benefits for the entire period of your claim. You will also be determined overpaid for any benefits paid to you on or after December 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the Continued Assistance Act) and you will be responsible for paying back this overpayment to the Department of Labor.

 

Q) I provided my documents to substantiate my employment, self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment in the required timeframe. What happens while my documents are being reviewed?

A) If you provided your documentation in the required timeframe, nothing further is required of you unless you are contacted by NYS DOL for more information, or you are issued an appealable determination letter.

 

Q: I never applied for benefits but received a letter and/or email stating I must submit PUA documentation. What should I do?

A: If you did not receive benefits from the Department of Labor after December 27, 2020, but recently received communication about the PUA documentation process, you may be a victim of unemployment insurance fraud. You should immediately report suspected UI fraud to NYS DOL at on.ny.gov/uifraud. If you previously reported fraud and still received communication about the PUA documentation process, please report it again. When reporting UI fraud, please note that the report is related to identity theft and describe the situation in detail. Once we review your information, we will reach out to you if we need any further details. Otherwise, this is all you need to do.