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Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Begins Paying CAA Extensions
Kentucky Ag Connection - 01/20/2021

The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI), announced that the agency has begun administering extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) over the weekend.

"Knowing that the holidays and expiration of the CARES Act funds have put a strain on people throughout our state, our agency continues to work extremely hard to initiate the extended and new programs signed into law," said Secretary Larry Roberts of the Labor Cabinet.

In March 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing Americans with new and expanded unemployment insurance benefits for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits were recently updated and extended when the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) was signed into law on Dec. 27.

Below is an update on the status of each program and what claimants should do to participate or continue benefits:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) covers individuals who lost income due to COVID-19 who were not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance or had exhausted other Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including self-employed workers, gig workers, and independent contractors. The program has been extended for 11 additional weeks through the Continuing Assistance Act. The first eligible payments began starting with the benefit week ending Jan. 2, and payments began processing Jan. 10.

INSTRUCTIONS for Claimants: Claimants must file a new claim. The last day to file for a new PUA claim is March 13 and they can continue requesting benefits until April 10.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

The CARES Act established the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to allow claimants who exhausted their unemployment compensation benefits to receive up to 13 additional weeks of benefits. The Continued Assistance Act is providing an additional 11 weeks of payments to those who are eligible until March 13. Payments under this program began to issue on Jan. 10.

INSTRUCTIONS for claimants: Claimants that had a zero balance in their account prior to 12/26/2020, will need to file a new claim in order to receive the additional 11 weeks of benefits. If a claimant has a benefit balance in their account the additional 11 weeks will be payable beginning with the benefit week ending Jan. 2. They would continue claiming benefits as usual.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

The Cares Act established Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), this program added an additional $600.00 weekly benefit amount to qualified individuals through week ending July 25, 2020. The new law provides a weekly benefit of $300 per week for those who qualify from week ending Jan. 2 through March 13. To receive FPUC, a claimant must receive unemployment benefits from a benefit program such as regular UI, PUA, or PEUC. This payment will come separately after their weekly benefit amount has been issued. Payments authorized under the Continued Assistance Act will begin to issue Jan. 19.

INSTRUCTIONS for claimants. No action is needed by the claimant to receive the $300 additional benefits. It will arrive after the weekly benefit amount has been paid. One-time Relief Payment Program

On Jan. 12, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order creating the Unemployment One-Time Relief Payment Program to be administered by the Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) and funded by Coronavirus Relief Fund money for up to $48 million. As of Jan. 19, all one time payments will have been processed. The program authorized one-time, supplemental payments:

- $400 to claimants under any OUI program who: (a) would otherwise have qualified for 2020 FEMA Lost Wages Assistance but their weekly benefit amount was below $100, and (b) who had an approved claim in November and December 2020 but a weekly benefit amount of less than $176. Approximately 25,000 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment; and

- $1,000 to claimants under any OUI program between March 4 and Oct. 31, 2020, with verified identities and no indication of fraud, but whose claims were not yet adjudicated and paid. Approximately 16,500 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment.

OUI is continuing to work through the guidance as it is issued from the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) and will implement the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) in phases as quickly as possible. The MEUC program provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental compensation to individuals receiving certain unemployment benefits who received at least $5,000 of net self-employment income in the most recent taxable year.

Another UI program being programed is Extended Benefits (EB). This program is for eligible claimants who must exhaust both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). By law, EB triggers when the three-month average unemployment rate in a state is above 6.5%. The updated Continued Assistance Act allows states to ask for approval from DOL to initiate this program without using the unemployment rate as a trigger. The Extended Benefits program does not have a specific timeline for implementation as we are still waiting on approval from the U.S. DOL.

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