New PUA Guidance and the Continuing Assistance Act
Feb. 26 UPDATE: We have received new guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor that expands eligibility requirements for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). We are working quickly to interpret this guidance and implement necessary program changes.
We will soon provide more information about what this means for those who were previously ineligible for PUA, as well as for those currently receiving PUA. We will actively update you, so you do NOT need to call us with questions about the new guidance. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest information.
The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) passed by Congress provides up to 11 additional weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. We have received new guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Labor stating that EVERYONE in the PUA program is entitled to an additional 11 weeks of benefits. We are only allowed to begin paying CAA benefits after Dec. 27, 2020.
Dec. 12, 2020, is an important date to know. Why? When figuring out how many more weeks of PUA you have available from the CAA, you need to know how many weeks of PUA you had left on Dec. 12, 2020. On Dec. 12, High Extended Benefits ended in Oregon. Once HEB was turned off by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, legally we were no longer allowed to pay HEB benefits of any kind, including for PUA.
The Dec. 12 date is important to know if you:
Received PUA benefits for weeks ending Dec. 19 and Dec. 26 AND
You had received more than 39 weeks of benefits.
In this type of situation, two of those 11 weeks added under the CAA will be assigned by us to pay those weeks so you don’t end up with an overpayment of benefits. Remember, overpayments have to be paid back. The good news about us moving those weeks is that you will still receive the $300 FPUC payment for those weeks.
The table below has a column for the “Phase Out” period. In certain situations, if you have used less than up to 50 weeks of PUA available, you may continue claiming PUA benefits through the week ending April 10, 2021.
Why do some people get 50 weeks of PUA and others get more?
In 2020, Oregon experienced very high unemployment and High Extended Benefits was turned on. That meant people receiving PUA went from receiving up to 39 weeks of PUA to up to 46 weeks. On Dec. 12, the U.S. Dept. of Labor turned off High EB. If you had already received more than 39 weeks of benefits after the week ending Dec. 12, any other benefits paid to you for the rest of December count against the 11 additional weeks of benefits under the CAA.
How do I know how many weeks of PUA have I received?
Right now, the best way to know how many weeks of PUA you have received is to check and count how many weeks of benefits you have claimed through the Online Claims System.
It is the end of January and I have reached 50 weeks of PUA benefits. If I claim another week of PUA benefits, will I have an overpayment?
No, you will not have an overpayment. Keep claiming your weekly PUA benefits.
As of Dec. 13, I had received 40 or more weeks of benefits. Do I have an overpayment?
No, you would not have an overpayment. Some people had received anywhere from 40 to 46 weeks of PUA benefits when High Extended Benefits ended on Dec. 12. You will still get an extra 11 weeks of PUA and you will not have an overpayment. Keep claiming your weekly PUA benefits.
It is important to note that in these situations, the 11 weeks of benefits will end sooner because they cover the last two weeks in December. If part of the 11 weeks were used for weeks ending Dec. 19 and Dec. 26, we need to make some manual changes to your claim because you were not eligible to receive those weeks of benefits until the week ending Jan. 2, 2021. Once we “move” those weeks you will receive the extra $300 per week FPUC payment for those weeks AND you will NOT have an overpayment.
With this change, how do I know if I qualify for the phase-out period?
If you claim PUA benefits for the week ending March 13, 2021, AND you have eligible weeks remaining on your PUA claim, then you may be eligible to continue receiving benefits through April 10 or until you have claimed all your eligible weeks.