April 22 2020

New Programs Opens Unemployment Benefits for Those Who Couldn’t Traditionally Get Them

By: Rich Hosford

Some people who are out of work due to COVID-19 related reasons but who have traditionally been in professions that did not qualify for unemployment benefits can now apply. 


A new state program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), provides payment to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits including those who are self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.


PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who fit the program’s criteria. 


“You should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance retroactive to your first week of total or partial unemployment,” a notice from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance states. “Most regular UI claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing, and many are processed within the first week of filing.

To qualify you will need to demonstrate that you are out of work for COVID-19 related reasons and provide proof of former levels of income with such materials as 1099 forms, pay stubs and bank statements. 


“The Department of Unemployment Assistance will review your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application and confirm details, including whether you are unemployed for a COVID-19 related reason, proof of your total wages, and whether, other than your COVID-19 related reason, you are able and available to work,” the department’s website states. 

Click here to see all the requirements and how to apply.


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