By Bello Welsh LLP
On April 4, 2020, the Department of Labor published Unemployment Insurance Guidance Letter (“UIPL”) 15-20, which includes implementing and operating instructions for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”) Program provided for as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act of 2020.
In short, the FPUC Program provides eligible individuals with $600 per week in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from certain other unemployment compensation programs, including CARES Act programs such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) program (applicable to self-employed individuals and independent contractors) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”) (extended benefits).
Importantly, any individual who is eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) of underlying benefits for the claimed week will receive the full $600 FPUC. FPUC is payable for weeks of unemployment beginning on or after the date on which the state enters into an agreement with the Department of Labor. In states where the unemployment benefits week ends on a Saturday, the first week for which FPUC may be paid is the week ending April 4, 2020, provided an agreement was in place no later than March 28, 2020. In states where the unemployment benefits week ends on a Sunday, the first week for which FPUC may be paid is the week ending April 5, 2020, provided an agreement was in place no later than March 29, 2020. FPUC is not payable for any week of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020.
Individuals are only entitled to benefits if they are no longer working through no fault of their own, and remain able and to work. Quitting work without good cause to obtain additional benefits under the CARES Act qualifies as fraud.
As with regular unemployment compensation, states will decide eligibility for FPUC based on eligibility for the underlying program; claimants do not have to separately apply for FPUC. Also states, not employers, are required to notify potential eligible individuals of their entitlement to FPUC.