On Dec. 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CAUWA, new legislation designed to continue unemployment insurance benefits for those who were receiving relief from the CARES Act. Those programs expired on Dec. 26, 2020. While the new Act continues many of the same or similar programs, it also includes some changes, as well as an entirely new program. While some of the details have been defined, there is still additional information (guidance) DWD is awaiting from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the changes. DWD did begin paying the additional $300 available through CAUWA on regular UI claims on Jan. 8, 2021, which payments were retroactive to Dec. 27, 2020, for eligible claimants.
1. Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)
• Regular UI is limited to 26 weeks of payment in a benefit year and is for individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own.
• Once an eligible claimant uses their 26 weeks, typically no more payments are permitted. But in 2020 there were two additional programs that could extend UI benefits:
a.) Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provided for an additional 13 weeks beyond the 26 weeks, ended on Dec. 26, 2020. The amendments to the CARES Act have extended this program an additional 11 weeks.
b.) Extended Benefits is part of permanent federal UI law and triggers on when there are periods of high unemployment. Indiana triggered on in the summer and triggered off in October.
2. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
• FPUC added $600 starting in March and ending in July.
• The amendments to the CARES Act have restarted the program at $300 effective the week ending Jan. 2, 2021.
• DWD started making the $300 payments to those currently eligible for regular UI starting on Jan. 8. They will be paid retroactively to the week ending Jan. 2.
• FPUC will be paid to eligible PUA and PEUC individuals once those programs are restarted retroactive to week ending Jan. 2.
3. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
• For an individual who is self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or does not have sufficient work history to establish a UI claim, AND become unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason.
• For weeks of unemployment beginning on or after Dec. 27, 2020, an individual may receive an additional 11 weeks of PUA for an overall total of 50 weeks. PUA expires on March 14, 2021, with a phase out period until April 10, 2021.
• An individual will also be required to provide proof of employment prior to being impacted by COVID.
• DWD is awaiting federal guidance for the PUA program and will make the changes as quickly as possible.
4. Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
• The MEUC program is for individuals collecting regular UI (excluding PUA) who have also earned more than $5,000 in self-employed wages for the previous tax year.
• Eligible individuals receive an additional $100 weekly benefit in addition to their regular UI payment.
• MEUC is payable beginning with weeks of unemployment no earlier than the week ending Jan. 2, 2021 through the week of unemployment ending on or before March 14, 2021.
• Indiana is administering the MEUC program, which is optional.
As more information is made available and continued guidance provided, DWD will continue to post regular updates on its website and Uplink, the claimant portal for unemployment insurance. You also can refer to the most recent FAQs, which will be updated regularly.