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PUA Certification Questions

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) recently released rule changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) that expands the reasons a person may qualify for benefits. The USDOL is requiring us to ask new questions in the PUA initial claim and on your weekly PUA certifications so that we can give more benefits to more people.

The guidance below will help you better understand how to answer the new questions. You might be asking yourself why we don’t just make the questions clear in the first place? The reason is that the USDOL will not allow us to modify the language in the PUA application.

If you’re filing your initial claim, look for the numbers labeled with “IC.” If you’re filing your weekly certification, look for “WC.”

IC question #19 and WC question #26
I was denied continued unemployment benefits because I refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to, those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.

Here’s what that means: This question is asking if you refused work because you didn’t believe your workplace was safe or that your employer wasn’t following or enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, such as wearing a mask.

IC question #20 and WC question #27

I provide services to an educational institution or educational service agency and am unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures.

Here’s what that means: This question is asking if you provided services to an educational institution, like teaching or driving a school bus, even if you were not employed directly by the school or educational institution. This eligibility criteria is specific to ‘volatility of your work schedule,’ which means your schedule was unpredictable because of COVID-19. The result was that you didn’t work that week or your hours were cut.

IC question #21 and WC question #28

I am an employee and my hours have been reduced or I was laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Here’s the explanation: This question is asking if your hours were reduced or completely eliminated due to COVID-19. Previous requirements only allowed PUA benefits if your hours were completely eliminated.

IC question #22 and WC question #29

None of the above apply to me.

Here’s the explanation: This question is confirming that you have no COVID-19 reasons for claiming PUA. If you answered Yes to any of the questions above, then answer No to this question.