By Valerie Morgan
The U.S. Department of Labor today (Jan. 6) announced new guidelines to states for reauthorizing the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) to assist Americans who remain unemployed.
The new program provides $300 per week to supplement benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning after Dec. 26, 2020, and ending on or before March 14, 2021.
FPUC is not payable with respect to any week during the gap in the weeks of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020 through the weeks of unemployment ending on or before Dec. 26, 2020, officials stated in a news release.
In addition to reauthorizing the FPUC benefits, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020, creates the new Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). The MEUC allows states the option to participate or not.
For states participating in the program, MEUC provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits to individuals receiving certain unemployment insurance benefits of at least $5,000 of self-employment income in the most recent taxable year ending prior to the individual’s application for regular unemployment compensation.
Individuals who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are ineligible for MEUC benefits. Authority to make MEUC payments continues through the weeks of unemployment ending on or before March 14, 2021. In states where a week of unemployment ends on a Sunday, the last compensable week before the MEUC program expires is the week ending March 14, 2021.
“Although Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation will both help alleviate the burden many unemployed workers continue to face, we need to be clear: It is unlikely that eligible claimants will immediately begin seeing these benefits,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training John Pallasch.
“Any time Congress creates a new program such as MEUC, the states must work with the Department to ensure they are standing up and operating the new program with integrity. To this end, the Department stands ready to help states implement them in a rapid manner to ensure the timely payment of benefits.”
The guidance released Jan. 6 is Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 15-20 Change 3.
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