The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act expands unemployment benefits in four ways:

  • Self-employed individuals and subcontracted individuals are now covered.
  • In addition to state benefits that would normally be received the Federal government will issue an additional $600 WEEKLY benefit to individuals on unemployment.
  • It extends the duration of unemployment 13 weeks to 39 weeks.
  • It dramatically expands eligible individuals to basically anyone who has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The guidance on how to apply for these benefits as a self-employed individual have not been issued yet, but the PA UC website indicates that self-employed individuals should NOT file a claim through the existing online system at this time. There is also no guidance on how the $600 benefit from the federal government is issued. We recommend frequently visiting the PA UC COVID-19 website for updates. They also have a FAQ section related to COVID-19.

Who is Eligible?

  • An individual who is not already eligible for regular unemployment compensation benefits or who has exhausted all rights to unemployment benefits under State or Federal law (basically self-employed or subcontracted individuals, would also think this includes officers of corporations not currently eligible)
  • You must provide self-certification that the individual can’t work due to COVID-19 and it extends to coverage for people who had to close their place of business as a result of COVID-19.
  • Does NOT include:
    • Individuals who can telework with pay
    • Individuals who are receiving other paid sick leave or benefits

What is the Covered Period?

  • January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020
  • Cannot exceed 39 weeks
  • ASSISTANCE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BEFORE DATE OF ENACTMENT:  The Secretary shall establish a process for making assistance under this section available for weeks beginning on or after January 27, 2020, and before the date of enactment of this Act.

Amount of Assistance

  • The weekly benefit amount authorized under the unemployment compensation law of the State where the covered individual was employed, except that the amount may not be less than the minimum weekly benefit amount described in section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto (whatever the state would normally provide)
  • The amount of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (the additional $600 per week discussed below)
  • In the case of an increase of the weekly benefit amount after the date of enactment of this Act, increased in an amount equal to such increase (any potential increases after date of enactment)
  • Would be calculated by the amount the state level would allow first and then add the $600 per week from the federal government

This is basically the same as Disaster Unemployment Assistance – you would not qualify for both.

CARES Act | Emergency Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Who is Eligible?

Any state that desires to enter into the agreement under this section with the Secretary of Labor

What is the Covered Period?

 The date the state enters into such agreement through July 31, 2020

Amount of Assistance

  • The weekly amount normally paid under state law (without COVID-19), PLUS
  • An additional weekly amount of $600 (paid for by the federal government)

Allowable Methods of Payment

  • as an amount which is paid at the same time and in the same manner as any regular compensation otherwise payable for the week involved
  • at the option of the State, by payments which are made separately from, but on the same weekly basis as, any regular compensation otherwise payable

Amounts paid under “Federal pandemic unemployment compensation” shall not be used in determining eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP.