Timing of emergency relief bill finalization delays payment of unemployment benefits for some

Posted at 4:14 PM, Dec 28, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — President Donald Trump has signed the COVID-19 emergency relief package into law, which expands and continues federal unemployment insurance programs.

But because of the timing of the legislation’s finalization, there will be a delay in certification and payment of benefits for those currently enrolled in the federal PUA and PEUC programs beginning Dec. 26, the state said Monday.

This will only be a disruption and claimants will be made whole once the extensions are fully implemented.

RELATED: Trump signs COVID relief and government funding bill

Existing PUA and PEUC claimants should ensure they complete any outstanding certifications through Dec. 26.

To do this, log into your MiWAM account and click on the inactive PUA or PEUC claim. Outstanding certifications will appear under the “Alerts” tab should there be any to be completed.

States must wait for U.S. Department of Labor guidance before they can start processing the benefits provided under the new legislation.

This guidance will include new rules and instructions that will require updates to the state’s UI system.

RELATED: Rebound: Filing taxes after getting unemployment benefits

The state says its Unemployment Insurance Agency will make program adjustments with what information is available and “will work tirelessly to implement any remaining changes as soon as it can in order to get benefits out the door as quickly as possible.”

Extensions and expansions include:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Extends and phases out PUA, a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021.
  • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by extending PUA from 39 to 50 weeks— with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
  • New PUA program eligibility requirements: New and active claimants must provide documentation to substantiate employment (not just self-certification as is currently the case) starting at the end of January.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): Provides all unemployment recipients with an additional $300 per week from Dec. 27 through Mar. 13, 2021.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Extends and phases out PEUC, which provides additional weeks when state unemployment runs out, to March 14 (after which no new applications) through April 5, 2021.
  • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by increasing weeks available from 13 to 24—with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.