Many of those who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance can still get federal money from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
The PUA program is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and covers many people who work for themselves, such as independent contractors, gig workers, even those who have contracted COVID-19 or are caregivers for household members stricken with the virus. The federal program is being administered by the state’s Department of Labor.
Here’s the list of who qualifies:
Self-employed New Yorkers; independent contractors; New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company (“gig workers”); farmers.
Others who also qualify are those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis; those living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; those providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19; a primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19; those unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or because they have been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19; those scheduled to commence new employment that cannot reach their workplace as a direct result of COVID-19; those who became a major breadwinner because the head of their household died from COVID-19.
Still others who qualify include those who quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19; those whose place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19; those with insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19; and New Yorkers otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19.
If you qualify for PUA, your benefit rate will be based on your recent earnings. You will also receive an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.
To apply, visit the New York State Department of Labor website. The DOL will process your application and contact you if any additional information is needed.
You can check the status of your claim online by logging into your NY.Gov account on the DOL website. If you see it is still pending, no action is required, the DOL has added thousands of representatives who are working seven days a week to process your claim as quickly as possible. If you see it has been denied, fill out the PUA application link that is in your account mailbox; if there is no link in your mailbox, fill out a new PUA application.